Alabama Republicans continue efforts to dilute Black voting power

Republican lawmakers "want to maintain their power so that they can control policy in this country,” April Albright, legal director of Black Voters Matter says

The Alabama redistricting legal saga continues after Republican lawmakers filed an appeal to keep a discriminatory congressional map in place.

Last week, Alabama Republicans asked the Supreme Court to permit the state to keep in place its Congressional map, despite it being in violation of the Voting Rights Act. 

April Albright, legal director of Black Voters Matter told theGrio, “GOP Republicans have never been an ally of Black voters in Alabama.”

The Supreme Court is seen under a clearing sky, Friday, June 30, 2023, after case decisions were announced in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“They’ve been able to maintain a position where they could ignore the rights of Black voters in Alabam,” she said, adding that “this is just continued bad behavior from the state GOP.” 

In June, the Supreme Court surprisingly ordered the state of Alabama to redraw its congressional map, agreeing with a lower-court ruling that said the current map violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The state was instructed to create a second district with a Black majority, or close to one.

The Republican-controlled Legislature has since proposed newly drawn map, which was also rejected earlier this month by federal judges. The three-judge panel said it would appoint a special master to draw new districts to increase Black voting power.

In the latest appeal, Republicans in Alabama are building a case to use the discriminatory map in upcoming elections and prevent the court-appointed special master from proposing new district lines.

Albright told theGrio, that she did not believe Alabama lawmakers would get it right after lawmakers defied the court order calling for a second Black district, which could challenge Republican’s control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The GOP went back to the drawing board, which we all were concerned about. This is the same GOP that has ignored this for over ten or 20 years,” Albright said. “We had no confidence that they were going to go back and do the right thing.” 

The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington, Sunday, May 21, 2023. President Joe Biden planned on Sunday to speak directly with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, hoping to salvage talks to raise the debt limit that have stalled in recent days while he was abroad at the Group of Seven summit. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Albright told theGrio, that Republicans “just want to maintain power and control in the state.”

“[House Speaker] Kevin McCarthy wants to make sure that the Republicans keep the majority in Congress,” she added.

It’s not difficult for them to draw a map that is compliant with both the district court and Supreme Court order. But they don’t want to do it because it means that they have to they potentially are at risk of losing their majority status in D.C.,” she added. 

Albright said Black voters’ interests, such as policies around policing or reproductive rights, do not align with the “GOP’s agenda,” so Republicans are working to suppress the Black vote. 

She added, that the bottom line is that Republicans “don’t want to have other voices that can determine the distribution of resources in the state and in this country.”

GOP wants to maintain their power so that they can control policy in this country and the more differing voices that arise minimizes their opportunity to do so,” Albright said. 

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