In Allen v Milligan the Supreme Court ruled Alabama and Louisiana violated the Voting Rights Act. Two new black majority districts must be drawn. Here’s how they might look.
In Allen V. Milligan to everyone’s surprise the Supreme Court argued that the Alabama Congressional maps had violated section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Justices Brett Kavanaugh and John Roberts joined the three liberals in writing the majority opinion while the remaining four conservatives including Clarance Thomas dissented.
Furthermore, Chief Justice Roberts said that the state of Alabama must create a second black majority district. While African Americans make up nearly 28% of the population statewide, they only make up 14% of the total congressional delegation. As the plaintiffs showed in court it’s very easy to draw a second black-majority district.
In Louisiana the high court also ruled legislatures must draw a second black majority district. While African Americans constitute nearly one-third of the population, they only have one majority district out of all six (16% of the state delegation)
What might those districts look like? Utilizing my background in Geography and cartography I redrew both states starting with Alabama. My goal was to draw a second minority majority district for each state and make them as geographically compact as possible.
Here are my maps.
Sweet Home Alabama
I redrew the seventh congressional district to make it a little more compact whilst keeping it a black majority district. While the population is nearly 53.9% AA the VAP population is around 51.7% AA. Then I drew the first district and second districts making them as compact as possible. The second district absorbs the cities of Mobile and Selma bringing the African American voting age population up from 32% to 51.2%. The rest of the districts were redrawn to be as compact as possible around the VRA required districts. This map is fairer than the current boundaries. Biden won the second district by 57.5%.
While the map isn’t perfect it certainly is more compact, and representative of the state compared to the current map. African Americans make up 53.9% and 53.4% of the population for districts 7 and district 2, respectively. The third doesn’t look like an Alligator gobbling up the Montgomery suburbs and dark red precincts. The remaining four districts are compact and preserve communities of interest with the creation of a new black majority district. Let’s now turn to the gator state.
The Gator State
In Louisiana I started with the 2nd congressional district and made it slightly more compact but still kept the AA voting age population up to 52.0%. By unpacking it I was able to draw the remaining African American majority precincts into the 5th congressional district which grabs Lafayette and swings to the Northeast corner of the state. This nearly doubles the black population to around 54.3% of the total population, 51.4% of the voting age population. The district itself transforms from a Trump 60% seat into one where President Biden won it by 55.9% in the 2020 election. The rest of the seats were remade to be as compact as possible.
Although I wasn’t thrilled with the 2nd district it’s definitely an improvement over the current map and it remains a 54.5% African American majority CD. The rest of the districts I tried my best to ensure geographical compactness and drew the remaining districts around the VRA required districts. The 5th is now a 54.3% African American majority district and meets the criteria laid out in Milligan.
It is possible to redraw both states to be compact and include an additional black majority district in AL & LA. In fact, more states should be challenging their maps in the deep south in Florida, South Carolina, and Texas to have more people of color in congress. The Desantis-mander disgustingly blew up Florida’s 5th congressional district where African Americans constituted a majority, and instead cracked the living shit out of it for partisan gain. Breaking up communities of color and ensuring only Republicans would be elected.