ATLANTA – After being out of power for decades, the new Republican majority in both houses of Georgia's Legislature (search) is redistricting the state's 13 congressional districts — and Democrats aren't happy.
"The current plan was drawn to maximize the amount of Democrats that could be elected to Congress. I don't really have a problem with that if they had done it based on redistricting principles," said U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga.
Westmoreland has complained that the current boundaries slice through 15 of the 18 counties in his district.
"To me that's wrong. That's putting politics above people and I think it needs to be corrected," Westmoreland said.
Critics of the current map say the current congressional boundaries make little practical sense because they create oddly shaped districts.
"There's one district shaped like a 'U.' There are other districts that stretch across the state from west to east, 250 miles long, four miles wide. And that's certainly not what you want to do," said political commentator Martha Zoller.
Normally, district lines are redrawn after the decennial census. Georgia Democrats say the GOP should wait until the next census in 2010 before making any changes.
"We're in the middle of a decade. And when you re-district in the middle of a decade, you don't have accurate numbers," said Democratic state Rep. Carolyn Hugley.
The current boundaries were approved by the courts after more than four years of legal challenges. As with other formerly segregationist states, Georgia must prove to the federal government that any new political map does not unfairly weaken minority voting (search).
"There's no question that this dilutes black voting strength in Georgia. And when you start shifting those, then you're going to have another five years of litigation, which is absolutely wasted money," said Democratic state Rep. Dubose Porter.
Because politicians draw Georgia's congressional district boundaries, the process is by nature political, with grumblings expected from the minority party. But now that Republicans control the state capital, including the governor's seat, for the first time since Reconstruction (search), those grumblings are coming from the other side of the aisle.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by Fox News' Jonathan Serrie.