There are many things about this country that make us great: our economy, our military and our people, to name a few. But perhaps our greatest accomplishment has been democracy. Democracy is our most precious and cherished blessing, and it is the foundation of our freedom. As Americans, we have a fundamental birthright to control our government and determine who serves as our leaders. For more than two centuries, men and women have risked and sacrificed their lives to protect that right. But in one House district, District 89, more than 200 Alabamians were denied this basic right. Not intentionally or maliciously, but because of the convoluted manner in which our new legislative districts were drawn. Our districts, which are now being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court because of the questionable manner in which they were gerrymandered, have no shortage of faults. But there are two main arguments that have fueled the debate: the “packing” of black voters into certain districts and the division of “communities of interests.”
Since the civil rights movement, Alabama has drawn its legislative districts with the goal of ensuring that African-Americans held roughly 27 percent of legislative seats. To achieve this goal, the districts were drawn as minority-majority districts, meaning the majority of voters were black.
But under our new district lines, the Legislature took this a step further by “packing” the districts represented by African-American legislators with as many black voters as possible. Legislators again claimed the purpose of this was to ensure that an African-American would be elected to represent that district. But African-Americans were already representing these districts at their previous levels. There was no need to add black voters to these districts. The second argument, and the one that is most relevant to what happened in District 89, has been that these districts divide “communities of interest.” Communities of interests can include counties, cities and towns. But most importantly, the new districts split voting precincts.
Full Article: Case shows redistricting damage.