Map of Congress that divides Montgomery into 3 hot topics in public hearing

Alabama lawmakers continued a series of public hearings on the redistribution this evening, giving people a chance to give their thoughts on redistributing the state’s political boundaries to accommodate the population changes shown by the 2020 census.

The redistribution committee came to State House in Montgomery, where about 30 people attended and seven spoke to the committee during an hour-long hearing.

The series of 28 hearings began on September 1 and continues through September 16. Most took place in community colleges. The public can attend in person or submit questions or comments through Microsoft Teams. Comments are recorded by a court reporter.

Further information is available on the Legislative Assembly website under redistribution commission.

The hearings began after the committee received the data it needed from the Census Bureau to initiate the process in mid-August.

Related: Alabama Awaits Next Round Of Census Data To Draw New Political Districts

The redistribution committee will develop new maps for the seven state congressional districts, 35 state senate districts, 105 state chamber districts, and eight state board of education districts . The intention is to keep the districts roughly equal in population in accordance with federal and state constitutions and the Voting Rights Act.

The maps will be submitted for approval to the Legislature, which is expected to consider the proposals in a special session later this year. The cards are meant to be in place for next year’s election, starting with the primary on May 24.

Three of the seven people who spoke to the committee tonight said the current congressional map, approved by lawmakers in 2011, harms Montgomery County by dividing it into three districts, 2, 3 and 7. Montgomery is the only one of the 67 Alabama counties divided. three ways. Most are contained in a single district.

Tabitha Isner, Democratic Congressional candidate for the 2nd District in 2018, told the committee that the Montgomery split serves no purpose other than racial gerrymandering and undermines the ability of voters to elect representatives who serve the general interests of the county.

“Racial divisions are already a huge problem in our city,” Isner said. “So the fact that white voters are likely represented by a different congressman from black voters only serves to reinforce the feeling that we don’t really live in the same city.”

Because of the way the lines are drawn, Districts 2 and 3 are safe Republican districts, while District 7 is Alabama’s only black majority district and is considered a safe Democratic district. Isner said the absence of competitive elections is counterproductive.

“All three seats here in Montgomery County are consistently won by a margin of over 20 points, whether by a Democrat or a Republican,” Isner said. “There is clearly enough diversity in the community to run competitive races. And yet, we don’t.

“And uncompetitive ridings are bad for voters. Because when a representative is not afraid of losing his seat, he has no reason to listen to his constituents.

Isner said she would submit a map proposal to the committee to keep Montgomery in a congressional district.

Carol Mosely, president of the League of Voters of Montgomery, also told the committee that Montgomery County’s three-way division is damaging to voters and the county.

Mosely said the border between the 2nd and 7th districts is an irregular line drawn to concentrate black voters in the 7th district at the expense of a more competitive 2nd district. .

“The injustice that results from this packaging is that it prevents the citizens of Montgomery County from having a representation that reflects the voices of the entire county,” Mosely said.

Mosely said the league supports a redistribution plan that keeps all counties in a single congressional district.

Senator Jim McClendon, R-Springville, co-chair of the redistribution committee, said it was too early to say whether Montgomery will remain divided into three districts.

The redistribution committee continues its hearings Thursday with meetings at four community colleges – Gadsden State to Anniston; Lurleen B. Wallace in Greenville; Alabama Coast at Brewton; and Union du Sud at Opelika.

Here is the schedule.

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