Alabama Legislative Black Caucus urges the courts to reject redistricting maps

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Where you vote, and even who you vote for, could change depending on an upcoming federal court ruling.

Last month, the Alabama Legislature passed a law changing voting districts to comply with a federal court order.

Now, the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus is contesting those new district maps.

In January, the Alabama Legislature was mandated by a court order to redraw 12 districts in the state. The Judges ruled, these districts were unconstitutional, because they relied too heavily on race.

“Just looking at Jefferson County alone, I could see their argument, it does appear to be gerrymandering," says Rep. Anthony Daniels, the House Minority leader and member of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus.

The solution Alabama lawmakers came up with still doesn't sit well with the Alabama Democratic Conference and the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus, so they're urging the court to throw out these redrawn maps too.

“Their involvement in the process came late after which the lines had been drawn and I think there’s a lot of frustration here. I think what the people of Alabama really want to see us do is work together," says Rep. Daniels.

Among the twelve zones originally contested, is District 53, that Rep. Daniels serves.

“Whatever decision is made, whether they redraw the lines and my district changes, you know I’m fine with that," he says.

Daniels says, he thinks big improvements are needed across the state.

“It could be much better, it could be much more equitable across the board," says Rep. Daniels.

He says, the biggest problem is letting politics invade principle.

“We need more people that have an independent mindset when it comes to making decisions of this magnitude," he says.

Alabama is among more than 30 states who rely on their legislatures, and legislators, to pick their own districts.

Daniels says he's intrigued by the states that use an independent commission, but even then, isn't sure it would be completely impartial.

“If we can guarantee that this is an equitable committee, a committee that is going to be fair, follow traditional ruling, redistricting principles, I’m all for that," he says.

Now the decision lies with the courts, whether the re-drawn map will stand, or if lawmakers have to go back to the drawing board yet again.

“I want to see the politics removed from this particular process and I think it would be good for the people and the district’s they’re representing," says. Rep. Daniels. 

If the courts are not satisfied with the new district maps, they could intervene and draw their own boundaries, but we're told that's reserved as a "last resort" option.