Every decade, Congress, both chambers of the Alabama Legislature and the Alabama State Board of Education have to be reapportioned and redistricted. This is the year for that task to be taken up in our legislature. Redistricting is the process by which new congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn. Each of Alabama’s seven United States Representatives and 140 state legislators are elected from political divisions called districts. United States Senators are not elected by districts, but by the states at large. District lines are redrawn every 10 years following completion of the United States census. The federal government stipulates that districts must have nearly equal populations and must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.
State Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, along with his counterpart in the Alabama House, is tasked with leading the redistricting process in the state of Alabama. McClendon recently said that redistricting will be done based on the data from the 2020 Census and that data will not be available until April. McClendon said that redistricting plans will be prepared by this summer and predicted that the Legislature will address redistricting in a special session called by the governor in August or September. McClendon does not know yet whether the state will lose one of its seven congressional districts.
The Census Bureau late last week said states won’t be getting their new population data until Sept. 30. It cited COVID-19 related delays for altering the original March 31 date. This could cause a delay in the State’s redistricting plans.
The redistricting process is coming for the Congressional Districts and the State districts, to determine how you are represented in Montgomery. You must pay attention. Take some advice from the Alabama Policy Institute, quoted below:
“Regardless, the redistricting process, which will occur during the 2021 Regular Session, is lengthy and detailed. Multiple public hearings will be held, maps will be drawn and redrawn, and the legislature will have to debate the fully redistricted Alabama in open session. Compared to other states which allow their legislatures to draw their district lines, this process is notably transparent.
Thankfully, there is a check on this power: the people. The system, in order for it to work correctly, requires residents of Alabama to understand that they have a role and a responsibility in government decisions, including the redistricting process. As transparent as the redistricting process is compared to other states, a window is worthless if it isn’t used.
When the Alabama legislature holds its hearings across the state regarding newly-drawn district maps, the audience should be full of residents ready to look through the window and give a well-informed opinion. As the process continues, Alabamians ought to be calling their representatives with input. Believe it or not, these small efforts create real impact and reduce opportunities for smoky secret deals.
If, however, we sit back and ignore the entire process and the window into it we’ve been given, we best not be surprised when we later find out what’s gone on in the room where it happens.”
There is Special Election primary scheduled for March 30,2021 to select a GOP candidate for Senator to represent Senate District 14. SD14 encompasses portions of Shelby, Chilton, Bibb and Hale counties and is one of the districts that could be affected by redistricting. The residency of the Senator Elect for SD14 is likely to be a factor in determining how any changes are made in redistricting SD14.