Gerrymandering – Obstructing the path to the ballot box

Gerrymandering - Blocking The Path To The Ballot Box Obama - Intentious

Image Credit: Tele Atlas, data from GovTrack.us | Image Sourced from: http://socialcapital.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/only-you-can-stamp-out-gerrymandering/

In the process of setting electoral districtsgerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan or incumbent-protected districts. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander (/ˈɡɛrimændər/, alt. /ˈɛriˌmændər/); however, that word can also refer to the process.

Gerrymandering may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder a particular demographic, such as a political, ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious, or class group.

(Source: Wikipedia)

 

Ernest Montgomery of Calera, Shelby County, Tennessee, won election as the only black member of the five-person Calera City Council in 2004: a district that was almost 71% African-American residents.

The city then redrew its district lines in 2006. This was supposedly because of new subdivisions and retail developments in the area.

This change left Montgomerey’s district with a population that was only 23 percent black. Thus, running against a white opponent in the now mostly white district, Montgomery narrowly lost his re-election bid in 2008.

In this case, the Bush Justice Department had to intervene to invalidate the election result because the city had failed to obtain advance approval of the new districts.

(Source: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/09/3909079/high-court-to-take-new-look-at.html#storylink=cpy)

 

On the outside, this practice might come across as unfair racial discrimination. And it is racial discrimination, make no mistake.
But who exactly is this unfair to?

In the wake of Obama’s re-election, the Supreme Court is now considering eliminating the US government’s most potent weapon against racial discrimination at polling places since the 1960s, due to pressure from key groups.

The implicit argument here is that the laws in place now, give racial minorities more power to sway electorates. This is seen as unconstitutional to the, well, white American majority of surrounding districts who can no longer sway their electorates in the wake of growing voter minorities, thereby affecting major areas of American life.

Defenders of the law said there is a continuing need for it and pointed to the Justice Department’s efforts to block voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas, as well as a redistricting plan in Texas that a federal court found discriminated against the state’s large and growing Hispanic population. “What we know even more clearly now than we did when the court last considered this question is that a troubling strain of obstructing the path to the ballot box remains a part of our society,” Adegbile said.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/09/3909079/high-court-to-take-new-look-at.html#storylink=cpy

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Categories: Multiculturalism, Politics, Law

Author:Andrew Beato

CEO, Chief Editor and founder of Intentious. Passionate comment enthusiast, amateur philosopher, Quora contributor, audiobook and general knowledge addict.

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