A federal court ruled that Alabama’s new congressional map violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The three-judge panel agreed that black citizens did not have the same opportunity to vote in who they wanted to Congress and that the state should draw a second majority-black district. The Legislature has 14 days to redraw the districts.

“The Legislature enjoys broad discretion and may consider a wide range of remedial plans,” the ruling said. “As the Legislature considers such plans, it should be mindful of the practical reality, based on the ample evidence of intensely racially polarized voting adduced during the preliminary injunction proceedings, that any remedial plan will need to include two districts in which Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close to it.”

The case was a consolidation of three lawsuits. Each lawsuit supported the argument that just one black-majority district was not enough because it stopped those living outside it from joining with like-minded people to vote who they wanted into office.

“We deserve to be heard in our electoral process, rather than have our votes diluted using a map that purposefully cracks and packs Black communities,” a statement from Evan Milligan, one of the plaintiffs, said. “Today, the court recognized this harm and has ordered our elected officials to do better.”

The Alabama Attorney General’s Office released a statement on Monday morning, saying that they disagreed with the court’s decision. They said they will file an appeal.

The court also extended the Jan. 28 deadline for congressional candidates to qualify Feb. 11 to give more time for drawing new lines. If the decision stands, the Democrats will likely gain an Alabama seat in the House in the midterm elections.

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