By: Shelly Vallone
The Alabama Senate gave final approval for a redistricting plan of Alabama’s congressional districts on November 3, 2021 after Governor Kay Ivey commenced a special reapportionment session on October 28, 2021 to complete the mandatory redrawing of Congressional, State House of Representatives, State Senate, and State Board of Education districts after the 2020 Census. The Senate mostly maintained the status quo, notably preserving the state’s only majority-black Congressional district without adding another. Ahead of the plan’s approval, Alabama state Senators Rodger Smitherman and Bobby Singleton, along with four Alabama voters, filed suit on September 27, 2021, in the United States District Court Northern District of Alabama Southern Division, asking the Court to declare the current districting plan unconstitutional and allow the legislature to remedy the violations ahead of the 2022 elections.
In their amended complaint, filed the day after the Senate’s approval, the plaintiffs argue the plan “was drafted by incumbent members of Alabama’s Congressional delegation to maintain their current districts with only those changes necessary to equalize populations.” The plaintiffs also stress the urgency of their claim in light of the fast-approaching 2022 elections. Candidates seeking nomination in a party primary must file a declaration of candidacy with the state party chairman by January 28, 2022. Therefore, the plaintiffs asked the Court to conduct a final hearing before the end of 2021 to settle whether the plan constitutes a racial gerrymander before the primary elections in May 2022.