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Voting rights advocates express concern over proposed redistricting maps

The proposed maps have caused outrage among many voting rights advocates and organizations. 


Several voting rights advocates and organizations in Alabama voiced their concern with the state’s proposed congressional maps that would not create two majority Black districts in Alabama.

The United States Supreme Court ruled last month in Allen v. Milligan that Alabama’s 2021 congressional maps violated the Voting Rights Act because it diluted Black voting power. This upheld a district court’s prior ruling that instructed Alabama to create a new map which included two majority-minority districts.

A special session was called following this ruling so Alabama’s lawmakers can approve a new congressional map. However,  the Republican supermajority approved a map in both the House and Senate which both do not meet the criteria of creating two majority-minority districts. 

The House map sponsored by the House Reapportionment committee co-chair, Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, would reduce the Black Voting Age Population (BVAP) in District 7 from 55 percent to 52 percent. It would also create a 42 percent BVAP in District 2.

The Senate’s map, sponsored by Sen. Dan Livingston, R-Scottsboro, would make the BVAP in District 2 just 38 percent and in District 7, 50 percent. Pringle has said that the proposed map gives minority voters an “opportunity.”

This, of course, has caused outrage among many voting rights advocates and organizations. 

We’ve compiled some reactions below.

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Jess Unger, senior staff attorney for voting rights at the Southern Poverty Law Center:

“When the Supreme Court rejected Alabama’s discriminatory congressional redistricting map and upheld the lower court’s order for the state to redraw its map, this is surely not what it had in mind.”

Kathy Jones, president of the League of Women Voters Alabama:

“Monday, by recommending its so-called ‘Community Interest Map’ to the Alabama Special Legislative Session, the Alabama Reapportionment Committee supermajority chose to ignore not only the Milligan plaintiffs but also the interests of voters of Alabama.”

JaTaune Bosby Gilchrist, the executive director of the ACLU of Alabama:

“The Court’s order was clear. Black voters must make up the majority of voters in two out of the state’s seven congressional districts. What was unconstitutional a month ago is unconstitutional today. Adopting a map nearly identical to what the Supreme Court threw out last month would mean Alabama is still violating the Voting Rights Act.”

Marina Jenkins, executive director of the National Redistricting Foundation:

“The maps passed by the Alabama House and Senate are in flagrant disregard of the Alabama district court’s order to enact a map with two districts in which Black Alabamians can elect a candidate of their choice, and the Supreme Court’s decision affirming the lower court. This shameful process, riddled with partisan schemes deployed at the expense of Black voters’ rights, has failed the voters of Alabama who deserve a fair and compliant congressional map. Time and time again, Republican legislators have shown their intentions lie solely in maintaining their own political power and silencing the constituents they are meant to represent. Neither the House nor Senate map meet the requirement of the court’s order, or the law, and will be challenged.”

The Legislature has until Friday to approve and submit a new map for review.

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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