Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Voting Rights Act and Partisan Gerrymandering

Heather K. Gerken

A good deal has already been said about how much the GOP's successes last Tuesday will matter for the 2010 redistricting cycle. For those interested, I have a piece on Slate about the ways in which the Voting Rights Act will limit and shape partisan gerrymandering during this cycle. As I note in the piece, it might seem surprising to think of the Act -- one of the crown jewels of the Civil Rights Movement -- as having anything to do with partisan gerrymandering. But because the VRA tells a state what it must do for racial minorities, it necessarily limits what politicians can do for themselves. It has thus played a major role in the partisan warfare that took place during the 1990 and 2000 redistricting cycles. The question I discuss is whether this will hold true of the 2010 round as well.

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