Court selects redistricting map

Published 8:22 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Two years after court battles began to debate whether Alabama’s voter district map violates the Voting Rights Act, a Supreme Court judge selected a new map to be used in 2024 state elections.

The map, known as “remedial plan 3,” was one of three developed by court-appointed mapmakers after the court ruled the state’s existing map did violate voter’s rights.

The new map is focused on the likely election results for Black-voter preferred candidates and makes changes primarily in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Butler and Crenshaw Counties.

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Congresswoman Terri Sewell called the court’s decision a historic victory.

“After numerous hearings, three Supreme Court rulings, and unprecedented defiance by state officials, the voters of Alabama finally have a fair congressional map!” she said. “While we celebrate this historic victory, the continued resistance that we face from state officials should not be lost on anyone. This long and arduous battle over Alabama’s congressional map serves as a solemn reminder that efforts to deny fair representation to Black and minority voters are still alive and well.”

Under the new map, Black voters make up 48.7% of the voting age population. Historical election data shows that 16 out of 17 Black voter preferred candidates would have won recent elections under the newly selected map.

Representatives of the Alabama Republican Party disagreed, expressing disappointment over the court’s decision.

“While we continue to have the utmost respect for the legal process, we are disappointed with the decision the District Court has reached,” said Jeannie Negron Burniston in a media release. “Of the three maps, the Court chose the map that is the most Democratic – not the map with the highest minority voting age population. We are hopeful Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall will continue with the appeal process. We believe Alabama’s Congressional Districts should represent the communities of our state, and not be based on the liberal Democrat agenda or the color of people’s skin.”

In a recent social media post, Secretary of State Wes Allen said the Voting Rights Act, enacted to undo gerrymanders, has now been used to create inequality, violating the Constitution’s guarantee of equality.

Allen issued a statement regarding the three-judge panel’s selection of map three.

“The Office of the Secretary of State will facilitate the 2024 election cycle in accordance with the map the federal court has forced upon Alabama and ordered us to use,” Allen said. “It is important for all Alabamians to know that the legal portion of this process has not yet been completed. A full hearing on the redistricting issue will take place in the future and I trust Attorney General Marshall to represent Alabama through that process. In the meantime, I will keep our state’s elections safe, secure and transparent because that is what I was elected to do.” 

According to Sewell, the ruling is a critical step to ensuring all voters enjoy benefits of the Voting Rights Act.

“Now more than ever, we must restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. We need the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and we need it now,” Sewell said.