Lee County NAACP branch opposes Auburn’s redistricting map

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 7:36 PM EST
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AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) - Members of the Lee County NAACP plan to fight the City of Auburn’s recently adopted district map. The city council approved the new district map by a 7-2 vote Tuesday night.

The NAACP argues that the newly drawn map does not properly represent the people of Auburn. Several citizens joined the group last night to argue against the now approved district map.

“We only get a shot to make these decisions and make them right a decade at a time,” said Dr. Kelli Thompson, Auburn research professor.

According to president of the Lee County NAACP branch Billy Allen, the organization has been working to create two minority majority districts in the city of Auburn due to the growth of the minority population to 37%.

“I think that every citizen has a voice, and that voice needs to be heard,” said Billy Allen. “And there should be the fairest representation throughout the city.”

City Councilman Bob Parson, who represents Ward 6, says with the minority population is being dispersed throughout the city, drawing another minority majority is difficult.

“The attempt by the NAACP to do the same with what was, what is my Ward 6, created a ward that had very unsatisfactory lines and we can the voting populations advocacy throughout the city,” said Parson.

Parson voted to approve the council’s original map, a decision he says does make him feel torn.

While the council argues the alternative map does not meet the state requirements, the NAACP argues the original map violates a section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“When you pack all African Americans into one district, you may be able to get one person elected,” said Benard Simelton. “But that is not given them an opportunity to have their voices heard.”

The NAACO hasn’t given up the fight just yet. Simelton says they plan to meet with their legal counsel to see if there is any legal action they can take.

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