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Monday, May 23, 2022

Alabama lawmakers review options after district map blocked

The Alabama House speaker said legislative leaders are discussing how to proceed after federal judges ordered the state to redraw congressional districts and said the state should create another district with a substantial number of Black voters.

“Well, we’re meeting with legal, and we’re finding out what our options are, and at this point, we don’t know we just got to wait and see,” Republican House Speaker Mac McCutcheon of Monrovia told reporters. The state is expected to appeal the decision, but McCutcheon said the, “reapportionment committees is ready to go to work” if needed. The state faces a tight timeline. Party primaries are in May.

A three-judge panel on Monday blocked Alabama from using its current map that created one heavily Black district and six heavily white districts. “Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress ” judges wrote in the ruling.

The judges wrote that any remedial plan will need to include two districts in which Black voters, “either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close to it.”

The ruling was a victory for Democrats who had argued the map packs many Black voters into a single district and limits the ability of Black voters elsewhere to influence any other congressional race.

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels said districts lines should reflect the racial and political diversity of the state. Alabama’s congressional delegation consists of one Black Democrat and six white Republicans.

“Well, for me, a state that is approximately 40% Democrat with only one representative out of seven, I mean, that speaks for itself,” he said.

Daniels suggested it would be best for the court to go ahead and draw the districts.

“I suspect this will probably make it up to the Supreme Court at some point, but I think that this is going to set the tone for the nation and addressing redistricting long-term,” he said.

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