WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, the Alabama Legislature approved new congressional and state legislative maps, as well as maps for the state board of education. Alabama’s special session that focused on redistricting only began last Thursday, Oct. 28. The maps now head to the desk of Gov. Kay Ivey (R), who is expected to sign them into law.
The new maps would maintain Republican supermajorities in both statehouse chambers and keep control of six of Alabama’s seven U.S. House seats. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) is the state’s lone Democrat in Washington, elected from Alabama’s only district with a majority-Black population. Yet, with a population that is over 25% Black, lawmakers and advocates argued that Alabama should draw a second majority-minority district. A lawsuit was filed earlier this fall against the map passed in the 2011 redistricting cycle for this very reason, alleging that it unconstitutionally “packs” Black voters into one majority-minority district to weaken their voting power in other districts. Eric Holder, chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, criticized both the process and result in Alabama’s 2021 redistricting cycle: “These elected officials had the opportunity to pass maps that reflect the state’s growing diversity while also incorporating input from the public hearings, and they failed.”