MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Mobile City Council once again took up the issue of new district lines Tuesday morning- a big issue with big implications for residents.
Just a week shy of the deadline for The City of Mobile’s new redistricting map to be voted on, City Councilmen are still struggling to get the five-vote majority on the proposed redistricting maps.
A total of three maps have now been proposed to the city council and on Tuesday, August 9th the council will vote on the newest map.
Community members spoke at the city council meeting to give their stance on which map they support and want to see go into effect.
“Please pass the coalition map and with no strings attached or expectations related to the coming annexation,” said Mobile resident, Darlene Martin.
The first map was proposed by Mayor Sandy Stimpson in February which would make District 7 the fourth majority-minority district with close to 51% Black registered voters.
“It was a collaborative effort after meeting individually with each city councilman and listening to the public input we came up with a map that met all the legal requirements that are in covenant upon us to do it and so that was the starting point and we’re still very comfortable with that map,” said Mayor Stimpson.
However, community groups and even some councilmen believe the percentage of Black voters should be higher.
The second map was proposed by Stand-Up Mobile.
They want to see the percentage increased to 53% without annexation to ensure the Black community in District 7 can elect a candidate of their choice.
When that map didn’t get the majority 5 out of 7 votes, District 4 Councilman, Ben Reynolds and District 1 Councilman, Cory Penn, proposed a third plan that is similar to the community coalitions proposal of 53% but it moves certain neighborhoods to different districts in order to find a common ground between the Mayor’s map and the map proposed by Stand-Up Mobile.
“We can get beyond racial division and do what’s best for the city and I think if we’re able to reach consensus the plan that I put forward, I think it’ll illustrate that pretty clearly,” said councilman Reynolds.
District 2 Councilman, William Carroll, is also a co-sponsor of the newest map and says voting on this map is an opportunity that’s been long awaited.
“We are a majority-minority city, and all that people are asking for is that the representation matches population,” said councilman Carroll.
If the council does not approve their newly proposed map by August 12, Mayor Stimpson’s map will automatically go into effect.