From today’s Reuters Online:
A U.S. court rejected on Monday the Alabama legislature’s redrawn U.S. congressional district map for November elections, saying it likely violated the Voting Rights Act and stood to deny Black voters an additional representative.
The ruling, which can be appealed, addresses an issue of contention between the two major political parties, in which Democrats accuse Republicans of exploiting their relative strength in state legislatures to diminish Black voting power.
U.S. states must redraw congressional lines once a decade to reflect shifts in population. In most states, lawmakers control redistricting, which can lead to one party manipulating district lines to entrench its power.
In Alabama, African Americans make up 27% of the population, but ethnic minorities have a majority of voters in only one of the state’s seven congressional districts. That district, concentrated around the city of Birmingham, is held by the Democratic Party and the other six by Republicans.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama found that the Republican-dominated state legislature should have drawn the district lines to give minorities a majority in a second district, or at least a better chance of competing.
“The appropriate remedy is a congressional redistricting plan that includes either an additional majority-Black congressional district, or an additional district in which Black voters otherwise have an opportunity to elect a representative of their choice,” the judges said in a 225-page ruling.
Read the complete story here.