Motivations of Racial Gerrymandering

4 April 2015
A discussion the racial gerrymandering problem in the U.S. and the Voting Rights Act amended as a result.

This paper examines the issue of racial gerrymandering in the U.S. The author provides examples of cases in which Democrats lost seats because of racial gerrymandering. Then, the author discusses the Voting Rights Act as amended by the Supreme Court.

From the paper:

“The Voting Rights Act allowed the U.S. attorney general (who was Nicholas Katzenbach at the time) to review voting practices and determine which states, counties, and political subdivisions were discriminating against nonwhite voters. Using rules set out in the act, the attorney general could identify those places that had a “test or device” (McWhirter, 1994) that limited voter registration as well as those places in which less than 50 percent of the voting-age residents were registered to vote in the 1964 presidential election. The act also allowed the attorney general to appoint voting examiners to go into these states, counties, or political subdivisions (which were mainly in the South) and register voters who met all requirements for registration other than the illegal test.

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The act also required that any changes in voting requirements in the areas that were affected by the act had to be approved by the attorney general. Chief Justice Warren found this to be within the power of Congress as well.

In 1970 the Voting Rights Act was amended. The Supreme Court reviewed the constitutionality of the act in the 1970 decision of Oregon v. Mitchell. As different sections of the act were being considered, the Court divided into different voting blocks. A unanimous Court ruled that Congress had the power to end literacy tests across the country. With a vote of eight to one, the Court accepted the idea that Congress could establish uniform standards for voter registration and absentee balloting. By a vote of five to four, the Court upheld the power of Congress to lower the voting age to 18 in all federal elections. By a vote of five to four, however, the Court ruled that Congress did not have the power under the Fifteenth Amendment to lower the voting age to 18 for state and local elections.”

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Motivations of Racial Gerrymandering. (2015, Apr 23). Retrieved November 7, 2019, from https://newyorkessays.com/essay-motivations-of-racial-gerrymandering/
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