State submits new district map plans

Published 5:30 pm Friday, July 21, 2023

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The Alabama Legislature reached a compromise between the House and Senate just in time to meet a deadline for redrawing the U.S. Congressional District maps.

In June, the United States Supreme Court ruled the lines on Alabama’s current Congressional District map were in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and instructed the state to create two Congressional districts in which “in which Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close to it.”

Redistricting occurs nationwide after each U.S. Census. Alabama redrew its maps in 2021, and the Congressional district maps were challenged in court almost immediately by black voters and lawmakers. A panel of three federal judges in Birmingham ruled Alabama’s maps violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and in June the Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision affirming the lower court’s ruling.

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The Supreme Court gave Alabama until Friday to submit a new plan that would create two black Congressional districts in Alabama.

On Wednesday, the House approved a map with one majority-minority district and a second district with 42 percent black voters. The Senate approved a map with the second district containing 38 percent black voters. On Friday, both houses finally approved a map with one majority-minority district and a second district with 39.9 percent black voters.

The map was sent to the three judge panel in Birmingham for approval on Friday afternoon.

District 89 Rep. Marcus Paramore, R-Troy, serves on the Alabama House’s State Government Committee, said he thought the plan would meet the court’s requirements.

“I think it has a chance,” Paramore said. “But, I don’t want to speculate on what the court is going to decided. That’s really like rolling the dice. I thought the map that was passed in 2021 would hold up.”

Paramore said he didn’t know when the three judge panel would make a decision on the map.

“The Supreme Court set a deadline for Friday,” Paramore said. “We checked the box on that. It’s up to the courts now.”

Former District 89 representative and current political analyst Steve Flowers said it was difficult to predict what the Birmingham judges would decide.  However, Flowers said he believed the original redistricting plan filed by the plaintiff was what the court was looking for.

“My belief all along has been, and will continue to be, that the court will implement the plaintiff’s plan,” Flowers said.