Alabaster districts approved Justice department pre-clears voting areas with no objection

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The city of Alabaster has been granted United States Department of Justice approval of its redistricting map for the 2004 municipal elections.

And while there will not be a minority voting district, black City Councilmember Bobby Harris said the approval by the Justice Department will not be appealed.

City council president Rick Walters said the city received the letter of approval Monday, which also gives pre-clearance for all annexations made before the map was submitted last fall.

&uot;(The map) was approved as we anticipated. Everyone in the city limits will have their vote counted,&uot; Walters said. &uot;The Weatherly annexations are included in this and will be counted in the 2004 municipal election.&uot;

Councilmember Bobby Harris accepted the decision of the Justice Department as well.

&uot;As elected councilman of Ward One for the city of Alabaster, I recommend that my constituents accept the pre-clearance decision of the United States Department of Justice Voting Rights Section without contest. We will lawfully abide by the decision without appeal.

&uot;For the past 11 years I have represented Ward One with passion and total commitment. I look forward to serving all citizens of the expanded Ward One for the next four and one-half years in some leadership capacity with the same passion and commitment I have exhibited in the past.&uot;

Walters said all residents will vote in municipal elections at the Shelby County Board of Education Instructional Services building.

According to city officials, the voting lines submitted and approved create seven council wards that are almost equal in size and that adhere to the federal government requirements that all districts must be within 5 percent of each other.

Although the number of minority voters has increased throughout the city, Ward I will not be a minority ward.

Due to the city’s growth over the past 13 years, keeping a minority ward is not physically possible, city officials said.

Also according to city officials, all voters who were negatively affected in the 2000 election have been pre-cleared for the 2004 municipal election.

The central voting location for the municipal election in the Former Thompson Middle School building on U.S. Highway 31 was also approved by the Justice Department according to Walters