Alabama Republicans uses racial gerrymandering to suppress Black voters. The state also has one of the highest rates of poverty in the country.
What's the connection? Voting determines political representation and how federal resources get allocated. Denying Black voters their fair voting power also denies Black communities their fair share of prosperity.
"The Supreme Court in a 5-4 case decided that Alabama must now draw a second majority-Black US congressional district after Republicans were sued by African American voters over a redistricting plan for the 27% percent Black state that made White voters the majority in six of the seven districts." - CNN
What is gerrymandering? How has it been used in Alabama? What can you do to ensure districts are drawn that puts your rights above those of politicians? Start with this StoryMap.
Alabama congressional map likely violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting Black voting power
In Alabama, lower courts said early last year that the state’s congressional map likely violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting Black voting power. The courts ordered it redrawn in a way that was expected to produce a second majority-Black district, which would have shifted the partisan makeup of the state’s congressional delegation from 6-1 to 5-2.
At the heart of the dispute in the Alabama case was the way that, under longstanding Supreme Court precedent, race was used to determine if a map violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting procedures “not equally open to participation by members” of a protected class, like racial minorities. Alabama was putting forward an argument for a supposedly “race-blind” approach to VRA redistricting compliance, that if endorsed, would have defanged the provision.
“I suspect that there are a number of states with lawyers who were considering filing a lawsuit similar to the Milligan lawsuit, but they held off because the prospects of how everyone thought Milligan would go were so dim. But now, you’re going to have a whole range of suits filed,” said Alabama voting rights attorney J.S. “Chris” Christie, who filed one of the two lawsuits that were before the justices in the Milligan case. “Lawyers who file these types of lawsuits are going to be encouraged and are going to pursue those cases aggressively, knowing that the Voting Rights Act precedents are there.” - CNN
In a democracy, there's no liberty more fundamental than the right to freely choose who represents us. In America, elections are supposed to reflect the will of the people, not politicians. We all want our voices to be heard in determining the future of our families and communities. Common Cause fights for a census in which every person is counted and a process for drawing district boundaries that puts our communities, and not the needs of politicians, first.
Common Cause has an innovative, pragmatic, and comprehensive pro-democracy agenda. Our work leads and defines the democracy reform movement, promoting solutions already succeeding in some communities to shift power to the people and away from wealthy special interests and partisan ideologues.
TakeAway: Understand how Republicans gerrymander district boundaries to cling to power. Demand that districts are drawn so that voters get to pick their politicians, and not the other way around.
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Alabama population demographics - Statista
Gerrymandered simulated maps - Daily Kos
Gerrymandering schematic - Flowing Data
Demand fairly drawn districts - Common Cause
Gerrymandering explanation - Brennan Center For Justice
Alabama Poverty Stats - AL.com