The Permanent Legislative Committee on Reapportionment, tasked with addressing last month’s court order that struck down 12 of Alabama’s state legislative districts, adopted what amounted to the same rules used by legislators to redraw the state’s legislative maps in 2012. The committee approved the rules on a 12 to 4 vote, over objections from some Democrats on the committee who wanted more time to review the rules. “Some of the same mistakes that we tried to tell them in 2012 that the Supreme Court would rule against, it happened,” said Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, a member of the committee. “So here we are again, starting the same way we started.”
Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, who helped draw the maps in 2012 and was elected co-chair of the committee Tuesday with Rep. Randy Davis, R-Daphne, said a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2013 that struck out a key part of the Voting Rights Act, wouldn’t require as much emphasis on maintaining minority percentages. “I don’t see a drastic change,” he said. “At most in a Senate district, you’re talking 500 to 600 people changing district lines.” Dial did say he expected lines to shift for about five of the state’s 35 Senate districts, and 27 of the state’s 105 House districts.
Black legislators sued to block maps adopted by the Republican majority in 2012, arguing that the maps — which used a rigid standard of keeping district populations at no more or less than 1 percent of their ideals — moved black voters, who tend to vote for Democratic candidates, into a handful of districts. That, the legislators argued, made it harder for them to ally with like-minded white voters and muted their voice in the political process.
Full Article: Redistricting: New map needed; old rules adopted.