State’s political districts have to be realigned after to reflect census data

Published 10:40 pm Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Alabama Legislature convened in Montgomery Thursday afternoon to address redistricting before the 2022 election cycle begins.

The special session was called by Gov. Kay Ivey. The governor also tasked the legislature with addressing appropriation of an additional $80 million in federal relief funds for the state. Reapportionment and appropriating the relief funds are the only matters on the agenda for the special session. But, additional bills may be brought up with the approval of a 3/5 majority vote.

Federal and state law requires the legislature to redraw districts after every census in order to keep the population in each district roughly equal. The legislature will have to redraw district lines for seven U.S. Congressional districts, eight state board of education districts, 25 Alabama Senate districts and 105 Alabama House districts.

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Political analyst Steve Flowers said there may be some contention in the House over the realignment of some districts. Flowers said even though Alabama grew in population, the state’s rural areas lost population while the urban areas grew. Flowers said in Montgomery, some contention may arise over Rep. Charlotte Meadows’ District 74. The realignment may shift the district from Republican to Democratic control.

“They were working under the plan not to add any districts,” Flowers said. “They could have gone up in the number of districts, but they worked hard not to do that. The Republicans have a supermajority in the House and Senate. There are 28 Democratic seats in the House. A lot of Republicans are OK with not adding districts, but they didn’t want to lose one. But, her district really got caught in a change in demographics and there’s nothing you can really do about that.”

Flowers said the districts in the Wiregrass remained relatively unchanged. He said District 89, which includes Pike County, may be expanded slightly to include a little more of Dale County.

Flowers said he wasn’t sure how quick the realigned districts would be passed. But, he expected some debate and the session may last a couple of weeks. But, when passed, Flowers said he thinks the districts will stand.

“I think they’ve done a really good job with the districts,” Flowers said. “I think the new districts will withstand the scrutiny of the courts.”