In 5-2 vote, Tuscaloosa OKs new district map


By WVUA 23 News Reporter Gracie Fusco

After months of debate, the Tuscaloosa City Council on Tuesday approved its new district maps with a 5-2 vote. District 1 Council Member Matthew Wilson and District 7 Council Member Cassius Lanier voted against the move, as they did the week before when a unanimous vote was required for the map to pass. This week, all the council needed was a majority vote.

Wilson said he’s left wondering why there wasn’t more discussion before approving a new map.

“I believe that each council (member) has worked hard individually, but we have not sat down as one unit together representing Tuscaloosa,” Wilson said. “(We haven’t looked) at the pros the cons, the challenges, the needs for clarifications to be able to make the necessary changes on this map.”

Redistricting is required every 10 years, and comes after the most recent U.S. Census. The goal is to ensure all districts have near-equal populations and accurately reflect the city’s makeup.

Some Tuscaloosans say the map approved Tuesday is gerrymandered, meaning it’s pushing portions of the population together to restrict their ability as a voting bloc. Districts 1, 2 and 7 are disproportionately made up of Black residents compared to their neighboring districts. Despite those residents’ protests, the city approved its Map A proposal, which you can learn more about right here.

Tuscaloosa is a minority-majority city, meaning more than 50% of its population is non-white. According to the latest U.S. Census, 49% of residents are white, 41% are Black and 10% are another minority.

Council President Kip Tyner voted in favor of the plan and said he’s pleased with the outcome.

“We were charged with redistricting in October, so it’s been five and a half months,” he said. “I know my colleagues have all worked extremely hard. “Like any issue, not everyone’s going to be happy, but I was pleased we got the 5-2 result.”

Wilson, meanwhile, said that in the end, everyone needs a seat at the table.

“I truly believe if we are going to be one Tuscaloosa we have to learn how to sit down together and have work sessions together, even though we agree to disagree,” Wilson said. “I believe that that’s what’s going to make Tuscaloosa better. “



Categories: Featured, Local News