Two lawsuits challenging Alabama’s new congressional map were filed this week, arguing that the map unlawfully dilutes African Americans’ voting strength because the map has only one majority Black district out of the seven districts.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the new congressional, legislative, and school board districts into law Thursday after they passed the Alabama Senate by a vote of 22-7 Wednesday. There has been one majority Black district out of seven districts in Alabama for three decades. The map is expected to maintain six Republicans elected from heavily white districts and one Democrat elected from the majority Black district in the seven-member congressional delegation. Alabama’s population is approximately 26% Black.
One lawsuit backed by the National Redistricting Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, was filed Thursday. The lawsuit argues that the congressional map violates the Voting Rights Act “because it strategically cracks and packs Alabama’s Black communities, diluting Black voting strength and confining Black voting power to one majority-Black district.”
The second lawsuit had been previously filed by two state senators and four voters, and it was updated on Thursday. The lawsuit asserts that there should be two majority Black districts stating that:
Today, the Voting Rights Act no longer requires maintenance of a majority-black Congressional District in Alabama. To the contrary, the state cannot rely on the Voting Rights Act to justify splitting county boundaries when Districts drawn without racial gerrymandering provide Black voters constituting less than a majority, combined with reliably supportive white voters, an opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.
Senator Jim McClendon, co-chairman of the redistricting committee, argued that the congressional maps could not have been drawn with two majority Black districts. “I’m ready to defend these maps in court,” McClendon stated.