Vote Dilution

The Voting Rights Act was enacted in 1965 to prohibit discrimination against racial or language minorities in voting.  The courts have applied Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (52 U.S.C.A. § 10301 et seq.) to the redistricting process.  The Act prohibits any standard, practice, or procedure that results in the denial or abridgment of any citizen’s right to vote on account of race, color, or status as a language minority.  When parties challenge a districting plan under the Voting Rights Act, it is commonly done under Section 2 of the Act by alleging that the minority vote was diluted.  An example of vote dilution would occur if a district is drawn, intentionally or not, so that a voter who is a member of a minority voting bloc does not have an equal opportunity to elect a candidate of his or her choice.  In 1989, a federal court in Jeffers v. Clinton, 730 F.Supp. 196  (E.D.Ark. 1989),  aff’d 498 U.S. 1019, 111 S.Ct. 662 (1991) found a violation of the Voting Rights Act and ordered several majority-minority districts be drawn for the Arkansas House and Senate both to remedy past discrimination and to ensure that the minority population would have an equal opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice.

Reference: Voting Rights Act

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