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Accession Number PB2013-105873
Title Congressional Redistricting and the Voting Rights Act: A Legal Overview.
Publication Date Jan 2013
Media Count 14p
Personal Author L. P. Whitaker
Abstract The Constitution requires a count of the U.S. population every 10 years. Based on the census, the number of seats in the House of Representatives is reapportioned among the states. Thus, at least every 10 years, in response to changes in the number of Representatives apportioned to it or to shifts in its population, each state is required to draw new boundaries for its congressional districts. Although each state has its own process for redistricting, congressional districts must conform to a number of constitutional and federal statutory standards, including the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, as amended. The VRA was enacted under Congresss authority to enforce the 15th Amendment, which provides that the right of citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of race, color, or previous servitude. In particular, Section 2 of the VRA prohibits the use of any voting qualification or practiceincluding the drawing of congressional redistricting plansthat results in the denial or abridgement of the right to vote based on race, color, or membership in a language minority. The statute further provides that a violation is established if, based on the totality of circumstances, it is shown that political processes are not equally open to members of a racial or language minority group in that its members have less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate and to elect representatives of choice.
Keywords Civil rights
Court decisions
Political systems
Redistricting plans
Voting Rights Act(VRA) of 1965

Source Agency Congressional Research Service
NTIS Subject Category 92 - Behavior & Society
92C - Social Concerns
92D - Education, Law, & Humanities
43 - Problem Solving Information for State & Local Governments
Corporate Author Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC.
Document Type Technical report
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1313
Contract Number N/A

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