Low public turnout for Ala. redistricting hearings

A representative points to a map of Alabama during the redistricting hearings May 12th.
A representative points to a map of Alabama during the redistricting hearings May 12th.

The Alabama Capitol Auditorium wasn't filled to even half of its capacity for the fourth public hearing on redistricting held throughout the state.

"I was very happy with the turnout" said Rep. Jim McClendon, (R- Springville) who chairs the legislature's Permanent Committee on Reapportionment.

About 80 people arrived for 3:30PM meeting which had only recently been rescheduled from 6:30PM.

Sen. Gerald Dial who helped moderate the hearing said the time and location of the meeting were called to accommodate the state employees who work in and around downtown Montgomery.

5 members of the public spoke at the public hearing. One of them was Sen. Dick Brewbaker, (R – Pike Road) who remarked on the rumor that Montgomery County could be split between three Congressional Districits instead of being split between just two.

"Splitting Montgomery County into three districts would not be well received" Brewbaker said.

Calls for a non-partisan redistricting process came from Thomas Brown, a retired Corrections Officer who now serves on the Elmore County Executive Democratic Committee.

Brown said, "It should benefit the people, not a political party not a one politician interest."

The seventh Congressional District, a seat currently held by Rep. Terri Sewell suffered the most severe population drop off. Its population decreased by more than 79,000 people since 2001.

Each Congressional District is required by law to have nearly the same number of people residing in it. For the next ten years, that number is 682,819 residents.

The next hearing is Friday night at the St. James Hotel in Selma.

Lawmakers are expected to release the first draft of its Congressional and School Boards map by the middle of next week.

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