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US judges reject Alabama redistricting map for violating Black voting rights

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Democratic Representative from Alabama Terri Sewell (C) speaks during a press conference with other members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (L), after the House of Representatives passed the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on August 24, 2021. (File photo by AFP)

A panel of federal judges has rejected the newly drawn congressional district maps for the US state of Alabama, citing unfairness to Black voters.

The three-judge panel of the US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama rejected on Monday the Alabama legislature's redrawn US congressional district map, saying the new maps likely violated the Voting Rights Act and stood to deny African Americans voters, who make up 27 percent of the population, an additional representative in Congress.

"The appropriate remedy is a congressional redistricting plan that includes either an additional majority-Black congressional district or an additional district in which Black voters otherwise have an opportunity to elect a representative of their choice," the panel of judges said in a 225-page ruling.

Once a decade, US states are required to redraw congressional lines to reflect shifts in population.

Lawmakers in the Republican-majority Alabama Legislature had approved legislative maps that maintained seven congressional districts with only one containing a majority of African American voters. Of the seven districts, District 7 is the only one represented in Washington, DC, by a Democrat, Rep. Terri Sewell.

State lawmakers, who control the map redistricting, can manipulate district maps to favor party lines.

In the US state of New York, where Democrats control both houses, it is the Republicans who accuse the Democrats of bias on party lines.

The bipartisan redistricting commission in New York failed to reach a consensus on a new congressional map for the state, ensuring that the state's Democratic lawmakers will redraw the new district lines.

Republican commissioners said the Democrats had allegedly deliberately refused to negotiate ahead of Tuesday's deadline "so that the determination of district lines would be tossed back to a legislature controlled by Democrat super-majorities."

Meanwhile, according to The Hill, US President Joe Biden is looking for ways to win back deflated Black voters in the upcoming November elections.

African American voters have for decades voted for Democrats in the United States.

This voting tendency has its roots in the Democratic Party's support for the civil rights movement and the attempts of leading Republican presidents to capitalize on white backlash.

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