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Black voters in Alabama will have more than one state-wide congressional district, according to a panel of federal judges. While the Alabama GOP attempted to draw maps heavily favoring white voters, the proposed congressional district maps were blocked in federal court.
On Monday, a group of three judges sided with the Alabama plaintiffs, which included the Alabama American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), as well as the NAACP. The judges confirmed that with the GOP-drawn congressional maps, “Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress.”
While the Alabama GOP drew maps with just one majority-Black district, the judges insisted that the maps did not reflect the state’s Black population. The judges requested new congressional district maps that include at least two districts with majority-Black communities.
State GOP’s redistricting violates civil rights
The court noted that the current maps likely violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act with their segregated districts. Section two of the Voting Rights Act prohibits barriers for Black voters.
The judges’ ruling gave the state legislature just two weeks to re-draw the voting maps. The decision also caused a deadline extention for voting until the redrawn districts are more equitable.
With the advent of a second majority-Black congressional district, Democrats are likely to gain at least one seat among Congress-members from Alabama. The state’s legislature currently has 27 Democrats compared to 77 Republicans.
Many state and national Democrats cheered the decision by the federal judges. According to former US Attorney General Eric Holder, “This decision is a win for Alabama’s black voters, who have been denied equal representation for far too long.”
Meanwhile, the Alabama GOP has vowed to fight back. Alabama state Attorney General Steve Marshall confirmed he plans to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as possible.