In the United States, the right to vote in political elections is guaranteed to all citizens over the age of eighteen years, regardless of race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. Unfortunately though, this guarantee has sometimes been limited to a “conditional” guarantee, because of racial and economic prejudice. In some instances, the voting rights of many racial minority groups have been negated as a result of racial gerrymandering and other forms of vote dilution.

Racial Gerrymandering

Racial gerrymandering is a process whereby district voting lines are redrawn with the intent of either minimizing or maximizing racial minority representation. The objective is to create as many districts as possible in areas of known political support and to concentrate the opposition’s strength into as few districts as possible. Extremely irregular boundary lines are sometimes necessary to obtain the results desired.

Is Racial Gerrymandering Legal?

Gerrymandering racial minority districts has been declared unconstitutional if their irregular shape indicates they were drawn primarily to represent race. The Supreme Court has ruled that race is not a legitimate criterion for drawing legislative boundaries.

Do I Need an Attorney Experienced in Voting Rights?

If you feel that your right to vote has been compromised through either a form of racial gerrymandering or any other means, your first recourse should be to contact your local legislative representative. If this proves unproductive, you can contact a civil rights lawyer, or watchdog groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union or the NAACP. A civil rights lawyer with experience in voting rights will inform you of your legal rights and explain all of your options.