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The “Gerrymanderer” Elkana Tisdale Cartoon in the Boston Gazette, 1812

If you still think partisan gerrymandering is not about race, you might want to redraw your perspective. In a recent study, the Pew Research Center found that Democrats hold advantages in party identification among blacks, Asians and Hispanics, while Republicans have leads amongst whites. If you combine these trends with the fact that during the 2016 election, there were four times as many states with Republican-skewed state House or Assembly districts than Democratic ones, you might begin to see the problem. As expected, a fraction of these new district maps “packed” black voters into one or two districts, ultimately minimizing their potential influence in neighboring districts. Although the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment grant minority voters legal protection, the blurry line between race and party has allowed state legislators to engage in race-based redistricting under the guise of partisan gerrymandering. This form of minority voter disenfranchisement is not only deliberate, but precisely calculated. Racial gerrymandering perpetuates racial inequality in America by taking away ethnic minorities’ right to vote fairly for candidates that will represent them. It is an unconstitutional practice that needs to be promptly addressed by the Supreme Court. …

Bianca S. Marina

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