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 (42 U.S.C. Section 1973) to the redistricting process.  The Act prohibits any standard, practice or procedure that results in the denial or abridgement of any citizen to vote on account of race or color.  When parties challenge a districting plan under the Voting Rights Act, it is most commonly done under Section 2 of the Act by alleging that the minority vote was diluted.  An example of vote dilution would be where a district was drawn, intentionally or not, so that minorities do not have an equal opportunity – as others – to elect a candidate of their choice.  In 1989, a Federal Court in Jeffers v. Clinton, found a violation of the Voting Rights Act and ordered several “majority-minority” districts be drawn for the Arkansas House & Senate to remedy past discrimination and so that the minority population would have an equal opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice.

Reference: Section 1973

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