Alabama Democrats frustrated with recent redistricting efforts

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Legislature continued its special session Thursday with Governor Kay Ivey approving four new redistricting maps.

This process takes place every ten years when census data becomes available. The majority party tends to write the lines for the maps, and that’s what took place again this year.

Some members of the state’s democratic party are not thrilled about it.

“Gerrymandering is when legislators or politicians choose their constituents instead of their constituents, choosing them,” said Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels.

That’s what he says some legislators feel is taking place with newly redrawn district maps.

Governor Ivey approved the four maps Thursday. But Daniels says the way they were drawn limits voters’ abilities to elect representatives that they can relate to. People who know their community’s needs.

“If your district is 70% to 80% African American or if your district is 70% or 80% white, with little to no diversity on either side of that equation is harder for you to understand communities that you don’t represent,” Daniels said. “But if we’re trying to be as reflective as we are in resembling the state in general, then we should be taking a different approach.

A lawsuit filed ahead of the special session alleges the congressional redistricting plan was racially gerrymandered, packing black voters in one majority-black congressional district, thereby minimizing black voters’ influence in five majority-white districts.

Daniels, who is not listed as a plaintiff in the suit, says it’s difficult to pinpoint just one problematic area of the map.

“You can’t just point to one area because it has an impact on other areas in the state. One change could change an entire map,” he said. “There are 26 counties they made whole, and we drew a map that would be able to create 48 counties.”

Redistricting is a process some legislators believe should be free of politicians however, they say it hasn’t been.

Daniels said he supports the lawsuit moving forward.

“I’m not surprised. That’s just politics and something that we’re looking forward to fighting in court.”

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