Super Tuesday Voter Suppression Suspected In Alabama’s Newly Drawn Black Voter District

Voters are pictured in the parking lot at the Macedonia Worship Center polling place in Montgomery, Alabama on March 5, 2024, the first time that voters could vote in the newly redrawn 2nd Congressional District. | Source: The Washington Post / Getty

Officials in the state of Alabama have, once again, been accused of playing around in the faces of Black voters after more than 6,000 voters in a newly formed congressional district received postcards with incorrect voting information ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

As we previously reported, the new congressional district was drawn after legislators in Alabama were ordered by federal judges to create a congressional map that included at least two majority-Black voting districts, which was a response to Alabama Republicans revealing their newly-drawn map in 2022 that only included one Black district in a state that is 27% Black. Fast forward to 2024, and it appears that Alabama officials have found a new way to attempt the sabotage of the Black vote, although, officials claim it was a simple “glitch” in the system, not racism.

From the Associated Press:

James Snipes, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Registrars, said 6,593 county voters received postcards listing the incorrect congressional district after the county’s election software misidentified some people living in the 2nd Congressional District as living in the 7th.

Snipes said voters arriving at the polls were still able to vote for the correct candidates. The county had sent about 2,000 notices to affected voters as of Tuesday evening and will send out an additional 4,000 on Wednesday, he said.

“Everyone who came to their precinct was able to vote for the correct candidates,” Snipes said, attributing the incorrect information to a “software glitch” made when adjusting to the recent shift in state congressional districts. “This was a good-faith effort.”

Perhaps it was all just an unfortunate accident, and since voters had their votes counted anyway, this could very well be a “no harm, no foul,” situation. Here’s the thing, though: Given the history of Republicans tasked with drawing a less racist voting map, the idea that a random “glitch” was responsible for voters getting the wrong info is a difficult thing to take at face value.

After a three-judge panel blocked the use of Alabama’s preferred map in this year’s elections, the state appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the ruling, which found that officials likely violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act by only including one majority-Black district out of seven in a state where Black people represent nearly 30% of the population. So, what did Republicans in Alabama do to comply with the court ruling? Instead of creating a second Black district like they were ordered to do, they maintained the one Black district the state already had and increased the number of Black voters in another district from 30% to 40%. Basically, they did the equivalent of applying a Band-Aid to a wound that medical experts said needed stitches and a cast.

Suffice it to say, Republicans’ effort to subvert the court ruling didn’t fly and they eventually had to do what they were told. Still, it would be understandable if the fact that getting Alabama Republicans to do the right thing was like pulling teeth makes Black voters reluctant to believe the “glitch” was just an innocent mistake.

More from AP:

“For many Black voters in that district, this is the first election where they have the opportunity to elect a representative who looks like them,” said Camille Wimbish, national director of campaigns and field programs for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “This could have caused many Black Alabamans to just stay home and not vote at all.”

State Rep. Napoleon Bracy Jr., one of 11 Democratic candidates running in the 2nd District primary, said “it is disappointing to see that voters in Montgomery County are facing classic disenfranchisement.” He noted it came days after the state marked an anniversary of key events that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

AP noted that the “redrawn map could lead to the election of two Black congressional representatives from the state for the first time,” and that “after the districts were redrawn, Black residents will comprise nearly 49% of the 2nd district’s voting-age population, up from less than one-third.”

The Travis County Clerk’s Office said only about 1% of registered voters were affected by the “glitch,” which they referred to as a “data issue,” so, again, this could have actually been accidental. However, this is still an example of how a history of wrongdoing and hurt one’s credibility. Black voters only want fair representation. It really shouldn’t be this hard.


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The post Super Tuesday Voter Suppression Suspected In Alabama’s Newly Drawn Black Voter District appeared first on NewsOne.

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