Gov. Kay Ivey plans to call the Alabama Legislature in for a special session the week of July 17-21 in order to draw new congressional voting maps, multiple sources told APR on Tuesday.
APR sources say Ivey is expected to issue an official proclamation in the coming days, but word has spread word through the upper ranks, so planning for the session could get started.
Neither the special session itself, nor the proposed dates for it, is a surprise. Following a ruling two weeks ago from the U.S. Supreme Court that found Alabama’s 2020 maps to be discriminatory towards Black voters, a federal court late last week set a July 21 deadline for state lawmakers to draw up and approve new maps.
At issue was the fact the state failed to draw a second district in which Black voters made up either a majority or something close to it.
At a status conference hearing on Friday, a three-judge federal panel impressed upon state officials that expediency is a must, with multiple voting deadlines looming. Under Alabama law, candidates for office must qualify a full year prior to the general election. That means candidates for the 2024 election cycle must be qualified by Nov. 10, 2023.
Any maps drawn and approved by the legislature by the July 21 deadline would then have to be approved by the federal court at a hearing in early August.
The judges also told state officials that should the new maps not be satisfactory, or should the state fail to meet its July 21 deadline, the court plans to appoint a special master to draw the maps for the state.