BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A three-judge panel of federal judges on Monday ordered the State of Alabama to redraw its congressional districts before elections can be held.
In a 225-page order issued Monday evening, the three judges ruled that plaintiffs in the case are “substantially likely” to succeed in showing that Alabama’s congressional map violates the Voting Rights Act.
In the order, the court wrote that the map approved by the legislature, which includes only one majority-minority district, may violate the VRA by diluting the power of black voters in the state. The judges wrote that another majority-minority congressional district may be required to comply with the law.
Executive Director of the Alabama ACLU Jataune Bosby says the congressional map for the state hasn’t properly represented the entire state for some time.
“It’s about ensuring that fair maps adequately reflect the reality of where our state is in 2022,” Bosby said.
“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 opinion said.
The court order also delays the date by which candidates must qualify to run for office from Jan. 28 to Feb. 11. The Alabama legislature, the court wrote, will have the first opportunity to redraw the map to comply with the law.
Mike Lewis, a spokesman for the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, said Monday evening that the decision will be appealed.
“The Attorney General’s Office strongly disagrees with the court’s decision and will be appealing in the coming days,” Lewis said.
Secretary of State John Merrill tells CBS 42 there is still more information needed in this ruling.
“If we get into March, then we are going to have a real concern. So, we want to get this rectified just as soon as possible. So we can move forward and allow the people of Alabama to vote.” Merrill said.
You can read the full court order below.