After the wave of Tea Party victories across the nation turned more state legislatures red in 2010, Republican lawmakers redistricted their states to the party’s benefit. In some cases, Democratic voters — often African-American — were packed into a small number of districts, diluting their political power. Not long ago, Shelby County, Alabama successfully challenged the section of the Voting Rights Act that required certain states and counties with a history of racial voting discrimination to submit any proposed election law changes — including new voting district maps — to the federal government for approval. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder enabled states, most of them in the South, to change voting districts without federal consent.
Since then, voting rights activists have challenged the new gerrymandered district maps in court — and they’re winning. In this year’s primary, voters in Florida and likely in Virginia will cast ballots from districts redrawn to be less partisan and more fair. Meanwhile, legal battles continue over voting maps in Alabama and North Carolina after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered lower courts to reexamine districts there.
At the same time, efforts are underway in some states to reform the redistricting process to make it less partisan.
Full Article: Winning the fight against gerrymandering in the South.