It’s Much Harder To Protect Southern Black Voters’ Influence Than It Was 10 Years Ago

There are a few basic rules for the shape of congressional districts. They’re supposed to be contiguous and as compact as possible, for example. They’re supposed to try to preserve other political subdivisions, such as county lines. But the more difficult part is making sure that districts comply with the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which requires that district boundaries be drawn to ensure that black voters have electoral influence, even though the boundaries can’t be drawn primarily based on race.

Putting more minority voters into a district gives those voters more political power, but only in that district. So a map that groups too many minority voters into a few districts limits their electoral power by confining it to a small number of district.


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