By Paul DeMarco, commentary
Next week will be important for the state of Alabama as we wait for a big announcement from the United States Census Bureau.
The Census Bureau is set to deliver to states the data on whether they will gain, lose or maintain their congressional districts no later than April 30th. The information collected from the 2020 Census will reveal the population count of the Nation that determines each state’s share of votes in the electoral college and the number of members of the United States House of Representatives.
Alabama has had seven congressmen for the past five decades but is in danger of losing a seat because of the state’s static population growth the past ten years. The state had as many as ten Congressman from 1913 to 1933 before the drop to the current number in 1973.
In addition, Alabama is one of 16 states suing the Census Bureau’s method for calculating the data to determine how the state’s population will be apportioned. The suit contends that the Census Bureau is manipulating the numbers that will produce flawed data and will harm the state’s requirement to produce accurate districts through a transparent process.
However, even with the apportionment results to be released next week, the bureau still has delayed the specific data for use on how to draw the new maps until August or September later this year. At that point, it will be up to the Alabama Legislature to draw the new lines for the Congressional Districts, Alabama State School Board, Alabama House of Representatives and State Senate. There is talk that Governor kay Ivey may call a special session to address redistricting this fall in advance of the 2022 statewide elections.
Regardless of the results the state receives, the Congressional delegation will look completely different with the retirement of Mo Brooks and other federal lawmakers in the next decade.
Alabama has a lot riding on the results to be released that will affect the state for years to come.
Paul DeMarco is a member of the Alabama House of Representatives