Monday, July 17, starts a new and historic special session in the Alabama Legislature, the second of 2023. This session is specifically called to address congressional redistricting after the U.S. Supreme Court decided last month that the 2021 Congressional District Map lines “likely” violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and hindered black voices in Alabama from being heard.
Every 10 years, a new census is taken and new district lines are submitted to reflect population changes. The current congressional map reflects the census taken in 2020, and maps were submitted in 2021. You can read more about the timeline of the 2020 census at Ballotpedia.org.
Four of our Shelby County Legislative Delegation members sit on the Permanent Legislative Committee on Reapportionment: Senator Dan Roberts, Senator Lance Bell, Rep. Corley Ellis, and Rep. Jim Carns.
As of now, there is only one congressional district in the state where minorities hold a majority of the voting population out of the seven seats Alabama holds. The Supreme Court has mandated that “any remedial plan will need to include two districts in which Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close.”
The legislature has until the deadline Friday, July 21 to pass new district lines, and if that does not happen or if the Supreme Court declines the revised version of the map, they will appoint a professional to redraw the lines instead.
This decision, and how Alabama handles redrawing the lines, will likely have a ripple effect over several other southern states. Georgia, South Carolina, and Louisiana are all facing similar court challenges.