Civil Rights and Religious Litigations

Voting Dilution Litigation:

The Voting Rights Act also makes it illegal for any state or local government to use election processes that are not equally open to minority voters, or that give minority voters less opportunity than other voters to participate in the political process. voter dilution imageIt is illegal to have an election system that "dilutes" the vote of racial minority groups by drawing voting districting lines that divide minority communities and keep them from putting enough votes together to elect representatives of their choice to public office. To show "dilution" in these situations, there must be:

  • A geographically concentrated minority population
  • Voting that is polarized by race (a pattern in which minority voters and white voters tend to vote differently as groups)
  • Proof that white voters, by voting as a bloc against minority-choice candidates, usually beat those candidates even if minority voters are unified or cohesive at the polls
  • Anyone harmed by minority vote dilution can bring a federal lawsuit to stop it. If the court decides that the particular election system makes minority votes less effective than white votes, it can order a change in the election system, such as:

  • Adopting districting plans to replace at-large voting
  • Redrawing election district lines in a way that gives minority voters the same opportunity as other voters to elect representatives of their choice
  • There are now expanded voting rights for non-English-speaking Americans, including special provisions for:

  • Allowing someone to come with you to interpret the ballot
  • Help with reading the ballot if it isn't written in your native language
  • Printing of ballots and other election materials in minority languages as well as in English
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