Alabama House Democrats used a procedural maneuver last night to delay a vote on new legislative districts that they argue fail to correct race-based gerrymandering in the state.
Republicans hold a wide majority in both chambers of state Legislature and have the numbers to approve the new map. But Democrats delayed a vote until Thursday by asking for the 539-page redistricting bill to be read aloud, a process that is estimated to take 13 hours.
Back in January, federal judges ordered state lawmakers to redraw the lines of 12 legislative districts before next year’s elections. That came after a lawsuit filed by the Alabama Democratic Conference and Legislative Black Caucus arguing black voters were “stacked and packed” into designated minority districts in order to make neighboring districts whiter and more likely to elect conservative candidates.
A major point of contention now is partisan and racial control of Jefferson County. The proposed new map would maintain a Republican majority in that area. Democrats believe if the new map passes, the issue will ultimately land back in federal court.