Without unanimous vote City Council delays redistricting map adoption

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While the Tuscaloosa City Council voted 5-2 to approve a controversial redistricting map Tuesday, it won’t be locked in stone until at least next week.

For the map to have been approved Tuesday by the council, all seven members must have given a “yes” vote. Instead, District 7 Council Member Cassius Lanier and District 1 Council Member Matthew Wilson voted against the map’s approval.

There were three maps drawn up by the city: Map A, Map B, and an Admin Map. You can check out the district’s population numbers, and how those populations would shift between districts right here. Map A was the one council members were voting for or against Tuesday.

Redistricting is a post-U.S. Census process that ensures towns and cities, counties and states are represented in government accurately. State law requires the city to have a new map in place by April, and it must divide the city’s residents into districts that accurately represent the city as a whole.

Currently, District 7 is overwhelmingly made up of Black residents, and some Tuscaloosans say a chunk of those should be moved into District 6, which is currently 38% Black.

Wilson said he wants the city to take its time and ensure the districts are accurate.

“My only disposition is that the Council should meet together to be able to look at this,” Wilson said. “I think the community should be able to understand what redistricting is, why is it important and how it’s going to affect us for the future.”

District 2 Tuscaloosa City Council Member Raevan Howard voted for Map A, saying during the council meeting that she feared splitting Black residents between Districts 6 and 7 could eventually result in a return to a 5-2 council makeup, meaning there would be five white members and two Black or minority members.

Several residents spoke up before the vote, encouraging the council to delay or reconsider their vote.

The Tuscaloosa City Council reconvenes Feb. 22. If the map is put up for a vote again, it will only need a majority vote to pass.

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