Lawsuit seeks two congressional districts in Alabama with sizable black electorate
A group of plaintiffs, including two Democratic senators from one state, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Monday, seeking to create two congressional districts with a significant number of black voters.
The lawsuit, filed weeks before a planned special session on prisons, argues that having two of these districts in Alabama’s seven-member delegation to the United States House would more accurately reflect the non-white population. state – and to that end, urges cartographers to keep entire counties in neighborhoods.
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“By reverting to Alabama’s traditional redistribution principle of grouping entire counties together, Alabama can remedy the existing racial gerrymander, restore a measure of rationality and fairness to the Alabama congressional redistribution process, and give African Americans the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice in at least two districts, ”the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit names Secretary of State John Merrill as the defendant. Merrill said in a telephone interview Tuesday morning that he was aware of the lawsuit but could not comment on the litigation.
The plaintiffs include Senate Majority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro and Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham.
Alabama Democrats said earlier this year they would aim to create at least two minority-majority districts. Alabama is about 26% black; having two black representatives would make the State House delegation about 29% black.
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The state has had a majority-minority congressional district – the 7th – since 1992. The lawsuit argues that previous redistributions have enthralled black Alabama voters in the district and made it difficult for black Alabamians to form alliances. with like-minded white voters.
The creation of the 7th arrondissement necessitated the split of seven counties. The decline in Jefferson County’s population below the minimum level required for a congressional district means that the state can draw new districts without dividing any county.
The maps included with the lawsuit propose a new 6th Congressional District consisting of Jefferson, Bibb, Hale and Perry counties. It also proposes a new 7th Congressional District comprising most of the rest of the state’s traditional black belt. According to the plan, registered black voters would make up 42% of the 6th Congressional District electorate and nearly 50% of the 7th Congressional District voters.
Republicans will control the redistribution when the legislature meets again. Six of the seven state officials in the United States are Republicans, and the legislature is unlikely to voluntarily remove the incumbents from their seats.
Contact reporter Brian Lyman of Montgomery Advertiser at 334-240-0185 or [email protected]