Originally published in the Autumn 2018 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 58, printed November 8. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Autumn 2018 issue or to download the full PDF, see this post (pending). For the full web catalog, see our Full Issues page.
We must not take for granted that redistricting ahead of the 2020 Census involves the redrawing of boundary lines for state legislative and U.S. Congressional districts that will most certainly have an adverse impact on African Americans’ political and economic clout.
We must never forget, that on June 25, 2013, the Robert’s Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that Section 4(b)(of the Voting Rights Act) is unconstitutional because the coverage formula was based on data over 40 years old, making it no longer responsive to current needs and therefore an impermissible burden on the constitutional principles of federalism and equal sovereignty of the states.
Five years after the ruling, nearly a thousand polling places have been closed in the country, with many of the closed polling places in predominantly African-American counties.
Therefore, the elected officials who will have a say in redistricting and restoring the formula in Section 4(b), of the the Voting Rights Act, must make it a top priority to update the coverage formula that will determine which jurisdictions that will be subjected to preclearance after the November 6, 2018 elections and wipe out the existing, heavily pro-Republican House and state legislative maps.
Mr. Roy L. Perry-Bey
Exec. Dir., United Front for Justice
Categories: Letters to the Editor