Rep. Sewell Statement on Release of First Local-Level Census Data
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) released the following statement reacting to the release of the first local-level data from the U.S. Census Bureau. States use these data on race, Hispanic origin, and the voting-age population to redraw the boundaries of their congressional and state legislative districts.
“With today’s release of the first local-level data from the U.S. Census, states across the country will now begin the contentious process of redrawing congressional and legislative districts. As this process begins, fairness and equity must be at the center of it.
“As Representative for one of America’s majority-minority congressional districts, I understand just how critical it is for Black Americans and minority voters to enjoy full and fair representation in government. Given our nation’s long and painful history of excluding Americans of certain races and ethnicities from the halls of power, we must make it a central priority to ensure that Americans of all backgrounds have a seat at the table and an equal say in the decisions that affect our lives.
“Tragically, because of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013 which gutted the Voting Rights Act, the redistricting process will begin without federal oversight. Indeed, without swift congressional action, states across the country with a history of voter discrimination will be free to target racial and ethnic minorities as they redraw legislative boundaries. As congressional districts are only redrawn every ten years, this discriminatory behavior has the potential to damage our democracy for at least the next decade.
“Voters should choose their leaders, not the other way around. With the release of this data and the start of the redistricting process, it is more critical than ever that we pass and enact H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to restore federal oversight and the full promise of our democracy. We have no time to waste.”