Congressional & Legislative
Primary Authority: Congressional and legislative plans are drawn and enacted by the Alabama Legislature, subject to the Governor’s veto. The legislature can override a veto with a majority vote in each chamber. Republicans currently have veto-proof majorities in both chambers.
If a bill is presented to the Governor during the legislative session, the Governor must sign or veto it within 6 days of presentment, or it becomes law without their signature. If a bill is presented to the Governor during the last 5 days of the legislative session, the Governor must sign or veto it within 10 days of the session’s adjournment, or it is pocket vetoed. If the return of a vetoed bill is prevented by a legislative recess, the Governor must return the bill within 2 days of the legislature’s reconvening, or it becomes law without their signature. Sundays are excluded from these calculations.
- Congressional: Not specified.
- Legislative: Legislative plans must be enacted by the Legislature at its first session after the decennial census. Mid-decade redistricting is explicitly forbidden. [Ala. Const. §§ 198, 199, 200]
- Congressional: None.
- State Senate: No split counties unless necessary; Contiguous. [Ala. Const. § 200]
- State House: None.
Map Challenges: Filed in the Montgomery County Circuit Court. [Ala. Code § 29-1-2.5]
Ballot Measure & Referendum Process
Types of Measures: Only the Alabama Legislature can refer constitutional amendments to the ballot. There is no citizen-led initiative or referendum process. [Ala. Const. §§ 284 — 287]
Previous Redistricting Cycles
- Original Plan - SB 484
- Passed = June 2, 2011 (R-controlled)
- Signed = June 8, 2011
- Preclearance = Granted on November 21, 2011
- Litigation History
- Chestnut v. Merrill, No. 2:18-cv-907 (N.D. Ala. 2018): On June 13, 2018, Alabama voters filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama alleging that the congressional map violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. After finding that the court would be unable to fashion a remedy in light of the looming 2020 census results, the court dismissed the case as moot for lack of jurisdiction on March 17, 2020.
- Original Plans - HB 19; SB 25
- Passed = May 24, 2012 (R-controlled)
- Signed = May 31, 2012
- Preclearance = October 5, 2012
- Litigation History
- Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama, No. 2:12-cv-691 (M.D. Ala. 2012): On August 10, 2012, the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus, among others, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama challenging Alabama’s new legislative plans as a racial gerrymander in violation of the 1st, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The district court had originally upheld the plans as lawful, but in 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case after finding the lower court misapplied the relevant legal standards. On January 20, 2017, the district court declared 12 of the legislative districts unconstitutional racial gerrymanders and ordered they be redrawn.
- Remedial Plans - HB 571; SB 403
- Passed = May 18, 2017 (R-controlled)
- Signed = May 22, 2017
- Implemented for 2018 and future elections.
- Original Plan – SB 22
- Passed = January 30, 2002 (D-controlled)
- Signed = January 31, 2001
- Preclearance = Granted on March 4, 2002
- Litigation History
- Original Plans – HB 1; SB 2
- Passed = July 2, 2001 (D-controlled)
- Signed = July 3, 2001
- Preclearance = (House) November 5, 2001; (Senate) October 15, 2001
- Litigation History
- Rice v. English, 835 So.2d 157 (Ala. 2002): A group of voters filed a state lawsuit challenging Alabama’s legislative districts as unconstitutional, alleging they failed to satisfy the one-person, one-vote requirement under the Alabama Constitution. The trial court originally upheld the plans as constitutional, and the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed that decision on May 24, 2002.
- Montiel v. Davis, 215 F.Supp.2d 1279 (S.D. Ala. 2002): A group of voters filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama challenging the lawfulness of Alabama’s legislative districts. They alleged that the plans violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. On July 8, 2002, the federal district court granted summary judgment for the defendants after finding the plaintiffs failed to establish that the plans violated either the constitution or federal law.
In The News
- Plaintiffs Head to DC to Hear Supreme Court Take Up Alabama Redistricting Case, FOX 10 (9/23/22)
- Supreme Court Allows Alabama to Use GOP Congressional Map, Roll Call (2/7/22)
- Federal Court Orders Alabama Redraw Congressional Map and Create a Second Majority Black District, CBS News (1/25/22)
- Court Throws Out Alabama’s New Congressional Map, The New York Times (1/24/22)
- Lawsuit Filed Over Congressional Districts, Alabama Political Reporter (11/5/21)
- Governor Kay Ivey Signs Four Redistricting Bills, $80 Million Appropriation to Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Fox 54 (11/4/21)
- Alabama House OKs New Congressional, Legislative Districts, AP (11/1/21)
- Alabama Drops Lawsuit Challenging Census Privacy Method, AP (9/9/21)
- Alabama Sees Population Grow due to Immigrants, Census Estimates Show, AL.com (1/21/21)
- Alabama could Lose a Congressional Seat Next Year. Here's Why, Montgomery Advisor (11/24/20)
- Gov. Kay Ivey Confident in Alabama's Participation in 2020 Census, WRBL (10/13/20)
- Census Update: Deadline Confirmed as Oct. 31 as Alabama Remains Last in Response, AL.com (10/3/20)
- Alabama Last in Census Response as much of Deep South Lags, AP (9/12/20)
- Alabama Ranks Last in 2020 Census Participation, ABC 33/40 (9/10/20)
- Alabama Census Bowl Launches Among 32 Counties Statewide, Alabama News Center (8/31/20)
- Why are Alabama Coastal Cities Lagging Far Behind in Census Participation, AL.com (8/9/20)
- Alabama's Last-Minute Census Scramble: Court Cases, Curtailed Count with a Congressional Seat at Stake, AL.com (8/9/20)
- State Officials Pushing for Immediate Action from those who Haven't Responded to 2020 Census, WVTM (7/24/20)
- Alabama Could Lose House Seat Based on Census Response, AP, 7/21/20