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Justice Department approves congressional redistricting for Alabama

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
updated 7:01 PM EST, Mon November 21, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alabama did not gain or lose seats in the 2010 census
  • But congressional district lines had to be redrawn because of population shifts
  • Political observers say the new boundaries are likely to protect the seven incumbents

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Justice Department late Monday announced approval of a plan for Alabama's congressional districts that political observers say is likely to protect the seven incumbents.

Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department must expressly grant its approval to ensure that that the rights of minorities are protected.

Alabama has six white Republican members and one black Democratic member. The African-American lawmaker, Terri Sewell ,represents a district in which 63% of voters are black, a slight increase in the number of minority voters from the makeup of the old district.

"The Attorney General does not interpose any objection to the specified changes," said Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, who heads the Civil Rights Division.

Alabama did not gain or lose a seat because of the 2010 census, but had to redraw lines because of population shifts within the state.

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