Alabama Redistricting Process

Congressional and Legislative

Congressional and legislative maps are enacted by the State Legislature. The Governor can veto the plans.

The Legislature can override a veto with a majority vote of all those elected. Republicans currently have veto-proof majorities in both chambers.

Challenges to the maps are litigated in the Montgomery County Circuit Court.

Source: Ala. Const. §§ 198, 200. Ala. Code § 29-1-2.5 (2019).

Previous Redistricting Cycles


  • Congressional
    • 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.
  • Legislative
    • 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.


  • Congressional
    • Original PlanSB 22
      • Passed = January 30, 2002 (D-controlled)
      • Signed = January 31, 2001
      • Preclearance = Granted on March 4, 2002
    • Litigation History
      • None.
  • Legislative
    • Original PlansHB 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.

Governor Bill Signing

If a bill is presented to the governor during session, the governor has 6 days to sign or veto it; otherwise, it becomes law without signature. If the bill is delivered to the governor during the last 5 days of the session, the governor must sign or veto it within 10 days of session adjournment; otherwise, it is pocket vetoed. Sundays are excluded in these calculations. Line-item vetoes are permitted. If the return of a bill is prevented by recess, the governor must return it within 2 days of reconvening or it becomes law without signature.

Ballot Measure Process

Only the Alabama legislature may refer amendments to the ballot. There is no initiative or referendum process.

Source: Ala. Const. §§ 284-287.

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