Grassroots Advocates Hopeful in Fight for Fair AL Congressional Maps
Friday, September 8, 2023
Grassroots voting rights groups in Alabama said they are delighted by a federal court decision to discard the state's proposed congressional maps for a second time.
United Women of Color and the Ordinary People Society, two of the organizations advocating for more fair representation for voters of color, are among those celebrating the move They see the decision as a necessary step toward achieving the goal.
Rodreshia Russaw, executive director of the Ordinary People Society, which is a member of the Alabama Election Protection Network, hopes it serves as an example for other states in the same fight.
"Our hope is that we will be a model state," Russaw asserted. "As is being seen now not only in Georgia, and also in Louisiana, for fair maps, for equitable maps."
The three-judge panel initially doubted the state's proposed map during the Aug. 14 hearing. Upon finding the map likely violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the court instructed a special master and cartographer to redraw the maps by Sept. 25.
The court's decision sends a strong message on fair representation, but also places financial responsibility on Alabama taxpayers to bear the cost of hiring the special master.
Angela Curry, executive director of United Women of Color, said the court decision is encouraging but she has concerns about the implications for next year's primary elections.
"Either their one plan is to either delay until it affects the 2024 primaries and/or have it go back to the Supreme Court, in hopes that one of the conservative judges will change their vote," Curry observed.
As the redistricting process proceeds, both groups say it is more proof the work of advocating for fair representation of Black voters is not over. The state has appealed to the Supreme Court about the federal court's decision. A tentative hearing for objections has been scheduled for Oct. 3.
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