State Watch

Alabama House approves redistricting map despite pushback from Democrats

SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images

The Republican-led Alabama House of Representatives approved a new congressional map for the state on Wednesday, despite pushback from Democratic lawmakers who argued it fell short of complying with a court order upheld by the Supreme Court last month.

The new map, approved by a 74-27 vote, would increase the percentage of Black voters in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District from around 30 percent to nearly 42.5 percent. However, it would not create a second majority-Black district as the court ordered.

The Alabama legislature convened a special session to redraw the state’s congressional districts, after the Supreme Court ruled in June that the current map likely violates the Voting Rights Act and affirmed the lower court’s ruling that ordered the state to draw a new map with an additional majority-Black district.

“This is really a slap in the face, not only to Black Alabamians, but to the Supreme Court,” Democratic state Rep. Barbara Drummond said of the newly approved map on the House floor on Wednesday, according to The Washington Post.

Another Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Prince Chestnut, warned that the state had “once again” decided to “be on the wrong side of history.”

“Once again, the [Republican] super majority decided that the voting rights of Black people are nothing that this state is bound to respect,” Chestnut said, according to The Associated Press. “And it’s offensive. It’s wrong,”

However, Republican House Speaker Pro Tempore Chris Pringle argued that the district provides “an opportunity for the minorities to elect a candidate of their choosing.” 

“The court said we had to provide an opportunity and that’s what that district does,” he said, according to the AP.

A state Senate committee also approved a separate map on Tuesday that would increase the percentage of Black voters in the 2nd congressional district from 30 percent to 38 percent. The state legislature has until Friday to approve a final map.

Marina Jenkins, the executive director of the National Redistricting Foundation, criticized both proposed maps in a statement on Tuesday, saying they do not “come anywhere close” to complying with the court’s order.

“Alabama Republicans are intentionally drawing political retention maps at the expense of Black Alabamians—in defiance of the Supreme Court and the Alabama district court,” Jenkins added. “It is a continuation of the state’s long, sordid history of disenfranchising Black voters.”

Tags Alabama Alabama legislature congressional maps Prince redistricting Supreme Court

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