Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Featured Opinion

Opinion | Alabama is on the wrong side of voting rights — again

When Alabama’s lawyers enter a federal courtroom to argue its redistricting case, they won’t be on the side of fairness and equal rights.

The Alabama Senate during a special session on redistricting. (JOHN H. GLENN/APR)

There was lots of hand-wringing and scary talk at last weekend’s Alabama Republican Party meeting. 

Redistricting was the topic. Doom and panic were the overwhelming emotions. 

If Alabama’s current redistricting case, which is set to be heard today in a federal courtroom, doesn’t shake out in the state’s favor … whoooo, boy, is there gonna be trouble. Speaker after speaker warned the gathered crowd of white people that the End of Days were near if Alabama doesn’t prevail. 

“The Republican Party might never control the (U.S.) House again,” one guy warned. 

Because if Alabama loses its case (and let’s be clear here, when I say “Alabama,” I’m referring to the state in its official capacity, which at this point is guided solely by the Republicans leading it), then the precedent of the loss also spells doom for Louisiana and Texas, where similar GOP gerrymandering has packed Black and Hispanic voters into single districts in an effort to limit their voting strength. 

That’s why Alabama’s Republican leadership turned its nose at a Supreme Court directive to draw in a second minority congressional, or something very close to it. Because Alabama wants to upend the VRA once and for all. And to do it on behalf of Republicans across the country. 

Because if Alabama acquiesces, or if it fails in its challenge, all across the country, the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act’s section two could mean that gerrymandered voting maps that stacked and packed minority voters into districts could be tossed out. And new maps that accurately reflect the percentages of voting demographics will be put in their place. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

In other words, voting would be more fair. 

And Republican politics can’t survive fair. 

It was, by far, the most forthright and honest admission that I’ve ever heard from Republicans about the overall popularity of their party’s policies and actions. They know full well that their policies are mostly unpopular with the majority of Americans, and that they need gerrymandering and voter suppression to hold onto the even split they’ve managed to finagle for now. 

But such an admission should also be infuriating to the average person. Here is the leadership of a major political party in the U.S. candidly admitting that it will refuse to mold its policies and candidates to better reflect the electorate it serves, but will instead attempt repeatedly to cheat the system in order to force its policies and beliefs on the majority of voters. 

Because that’s what gerrymandering is, you know? 

It’s cheating. 

It’s cheating Americans out of their voting power. It’s taking away an American’s right to choose the people who represent him or her in our government. In the case of gerrymandering, it’s allowing the politicians to pick their voters, instead of the other way around. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

And when you’re talking about cheating minority voters out of that power, you’re most often talking about cheating them out of the only power they hold in this country. You’re taking away a sacred right from the very people who need it most. 

And what’s truly amazing about it all is that not once does it seem to dawn on Republicans to simply alter their policies. To mold the party to fit a wider swath of the ever-changing American population. 

The crazy thing is that it wouldn’t even be so hard to do. A large percentage of Black voters are very conservative people. Many attend Christian churches whenever the doors are open and share several beliefs on a number of fronts with conservative Republican voters. 

But the GOP can’t do it. The days after the George Floyd murder and subsequent protests would have been the ideal time for a shift, for a rebranding – an opportunity to reach out to Black voters at every level and appeal to those conservative beliefs. 

Instead, Republicans did what they’ve done since the day the VRA was passed – leaned into racism. The attacks on CRT and Black Lives Matters rained down from the top. And today, we have a state governor who’s running for the GOP nomination for president pushing a history curriculum that’s so overtly racist it claims that slavery was actually a benefit to the slaves. 

And so, today, when Alabama’s legal team enters a federal courtroom to argue over congressional maps, it will not be on the side of fairness and equality. It will not be arguing to protect the rights of its citizens. It will not be seeking equality at the voting booth. 

Instead, it will be fighting to keep rigging the game.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

More from APR


Experts pointed to APR's reporting as evidence of the eroding accountability of the court.


Much of the response argues the map put forth by the state plainly fails to remedy issues with the prior map.


There appears to be a significant connection between Alabama's post-Milligan map redrawing process and a powerful national dark money network.


APR spoke with former Sen. Doug Jones to get his thoughts on the 60th anniversary of the Birmingham tragedy.