MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The three Alabama congressional district maps proposed by the court-appointed special master will impact Mobile County because, in all three, the county is split into two separate districts.
Where and how Mobile County is split in all three maps remains unclear, but the effects it will have on the city will remain.
On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court rejected the state of Alabama’s appeal to use their map because the state of Alabama ignored the United States Supreme Court’s instructions to create a map with two majority black districts.
The Supreme Court of the United States decided that in the case Allen v. Milligan after they held that Alabama’s current congressional district map violated the Voting Rights Act.
The three maps proposed will stand, and they all split Mobile County into two different districts.
Shalela Dowdy, a plaintiff in Allen v. Milligan, is happy with the three proposed maps as she believes it shows how hard her group has worked to fight against voter suppression in the state.
“It was the Supreme Court basically reaffirming what they told the state of Alabama the first time,” Dowdy said. “And so it’s great to see them sticking by their word, and it’s unfortunate that Alabama wants to keep taking these L’s.“
On the other hand, former District 1 Congressman and current CEO of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce Bradley Byrne said this split will do more bad than good for the county.
“It’s actually a lose-lose for us the way these maps are drawn,” Byrne said.
Bryne fears splitting Mobile County would hurt Mobile overall.
“In these maps, it looks like at least part of downtown would be represented by somebody from Montgomery,” Bryne explained. “OK. Now, somebody from Montgomery is going to pay attention to us, but not as much as you would pay attention to Montgomery.”
Out of all three maps, Bryne prefers map No. 3 as it keeps most of Mobile County and all of Baldwin County in the same district, but he believes the negative impacts of the split will still remain.
“Now, our earmarks are going to have to be shared with several other parts of the state,” Bryne said. “So we’re going to get less earmark money here in this area.”
Even though Dowdy is pleased with the proposed maps, she said all of her and her group’s hard work will mean nothing if black Alabamians don’t go to the polls.
“So the other issue would be that when we get these two black districts, we need black people,” Dowdy explained. “We need all Alabamians to come out and vote because we just had the lowest voter turnout in 20 years in the last general election. So it will mean nothing if we can’t get our constituents and the people and citizens of our faith to turn out and vote.”
The federal judges are expected to vote on one of the three maps on Oct. 3.