Redistricting and Voting Rights

A group of civil rights demonstrators march from Selma to Montgomery,1965. ©1965 Bruce DavidsonEvery 10 years, the U.S. Census sets in motion a constitutionally mandated process of re-aligning voting districts to reflect population changes in federal, state, and local jurisdictions. California carried out its redistricting through a Citizens Commission for the first time (Galambos Malloy), but in most states, tried and true political in-fighting, followed by extensive legal challenges, is now underway (Rowe, Abdullah).

In California, where people of color are the new majority, African American communities were able to preserve their political position; Latino communities saw an increase of 10 districts with Latino majorities; and a new district with majority Asians was created. With redistricting for local jurisdictions starting up under the new California Voting Rights Act (which has more teeth than the federal legislation), organized communities of color stand to gain even greater electoral representation (Cedillo).

In places like Mississippi, African Americans and Latinos have made common cause to turn back the kind of legislative assault on immigrants seen in Arizona and Alabama (Eaton). In Ohio, a revitalized labor-community coalition won a referendum overturning the state government’s attacks on public employees (La Botz).


Autumn Awakening | Vol. 18, No. 2– 2011 | Credits

To order the print edition of "Autumn Awakening" use the back issues page.

To read more of our stories please sign up for our RP&E quarterly newsletter and occasional updates.

Email: