Lawsuit challenges Alabama’s new congressional districts


Two lawsuits are challenging Alabama’s new congressional map, claiming it illegally dilutes the voting power of African Americans with one in seven majority-minority districts.

An organization announced a lawsuit Thursday the same day Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey enacted the new congressional, legislative and school board districts. A lawsuit previously filed by two state senators and multiple voters was also updated on Thursday to challenge the new card.

Alabama lawmakers this week approved a congressional map that should maintain the current partisan balance: the seven-member Congressional delegation with six Republicans elected from heavily white districts and one Democrat elected from the only white-majority district. . Alabama has a population of approximately 26% black.

A lawsuit backed by an organization aligned with a Democratic group says the plan violates the voting rights law “because it cracks and strategically brings together black communities in Alabama, diluting black voting power and confining the vote. black voting power in a single black majority district. “

The lawsuit was supported by the National Redistricting Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, headed by Eric Holder, who was President Barack Obama’s attorney general.

This is the second legal action filed on the matter. A pending lawsuit filed by two lawmakers and four voters argues that the state should have two districts, where black voters could be given the opportunity to “elect any candidate they want.”

“Today, the voting rights law no longer requires the maintenance of a predominantly black congressional district in Alabama. On the contrary, the state cannot rely on the Voting Rights Act to justify dividing county boundaries when districts drawn without racial gerrymandering offer black voters constituting less than a majority, combined with voters. whites who reliably support the possibility of electing the candidates of their choice, ”the lawyers wrote in an amended complaint.

In the recent special session, Republicans rejected Democrats’ efforts to create a central congressional district with a major center in Birmingham that would be competitive between Republicans and Democrats. The swing neighborhood is said to have a population of 40% black.

Republicans have maintained that the approved cards comply with the voting rights law and related court rulings.

“I am prepared to defend these cards in court,” said Republican Senator Jim McClendon, co-chair of the redistribution committee.

McClendon argued that the maps could not be drawn with two majority black districts. Republican Representative Chris Pringle, the other co-chair of the redistribution committee, argued that having two districts – where African Americans were a significant portion of the population but less than 50% – could do the opposite of what people want. Democrats by making them more competitive for Republicans.

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