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Did Virginia draw the voting districts in line with federal laws?

March 15, 2019

This Supreme Court case started with voting maps that the Virginia House of Delegates drew after the 2010 census.

Virginia was — and still is — required to make sure that new voting districts do not dilute minority voting power. When Virginia drew the maps in question, the state was required to get federal “pre-clearance” of the maps. Virginia sought pre-clearance and got approval, meaning the federal government reviewed the maps and decided the new districts would not diminish minority voting power. 

In 2014, after the maps had been in effect, twelve voters in Virginia sued, claiming the state officials drew the maps with discriminatory intent. The voters claimed the officials used an improper criterion in drawing 12 voting districts. The criterion, they claimed, appeared to maintain minority voting power but actually diluted minority voting power.

Now the Supreme Court will address whether there was evidence of improper motive on the part of the Virginia Officials and how courts should determine compliance with federal voting rights laws.


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