Parroting a narrative promoted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Democratic Party U.S. Senate nominee Will Boyd claims that “voter suppression” is alive and well in the state of Alabama.
On his official campaign website, Boyd alleges, “Not all Alabamians are being treated equally even though Alabama has been called the cradle of civil rights!”
The progressive Democrat’s accusations are unfounded, according to records maintained by the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office.
In a conversation with Yellowhammer News, Secretary of State John Merrill advised that nearly all eligible black Alabamians were registered to vote.
“Since I became the secretary… we’ve registered 2,083,733 new voters,” said Merrill. “Now we’ve got 3,654,977 registered voters. And 96% of all eligible African Americans are registered to vote. And 94% of all eligible Alabamians are registered to vote. So we’re real, real proud of that. No state in the union can match what we’ve done in that same period of time — no state.”
“And I was with all 50 state secretaries this past week at our national conference in Baton Rouge,” he detailed. “[We] made a presentation on exactly what we have done.”
Merrill pointed to the Republican-controlled legislature’s efforts this year to redraw legislative districts that reflect the state’s racial makeup and provide appropriate political representation to minority populations.
“The Alabama Legislature is responsible for reapportionment. And the Alabama Legislature has drawn more minority-majority districts than have ever existed in the history of the state, in the House and in the Senate both,” noted the secretary. “There’s more majority-minority districts in the state of Alabama today than there have ever been.”
Boyd’s campaign website also contends that black Alabamians did not enjoy equal representation, alleging that the state’s newly redistricted congressional map stood in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“While African Americans make up 27% of the Alabama population, newly drawn congressional maps reflect only a 14% representation,” the Democratic senatorial nominee’s website reads. “The very inequities that go to the heart of why The Voting Act was needed have not been protected in Alabama.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court halted a lower court’s decision to force Alabama to redraw its congressional district map prior to proceeding with the state’s 2022 elections.
The high court’s ruling allowed the state to prepare its appeal of the lower federal court’s determination that Alabama’s refreshed congressional map likely violated the Voting Rights Act by not providing fair representation to minority citizens.
“The Alabama Legislature drew the [congressional] districts too, and it’s my understanding just like when I was in office in the legislature, that they drew what they believed to be fair and representative districts of the population in the state,” added Merrill.
Boyd will face Republican Party nominee Katie Britt in the November 8 general election for the seat that will be vacated in January by retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa).
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL