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The Unsettling Truth

If you are a white man, you have an excellent chance of being elected/appointed to a governing board at one of South Carolina’s 10 public universities. If you are a woman, however, don’t get your hopes up.  Here are the unsettling numbers, as compiled last month by statehouse.com:  the governing boards of South Carolina’s public …

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What 60 Years of Political Gerrymandering Looks Like

Many states, like South Carolina, enshrine incumbency protection in traditional districting principles. Formally that means not pairing incumbents in a district. That also means you ensure that incumbents live in “their” redrawn district. However, population changes can force drawing incumbents into the same district.  A dozen states prohibit intentionally favoring or disfavoring incumbents at the …

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The Battle over Partisan Gerrymandering

In June 2019, the Supreme Court decided in Rucho v. Common Cause that partisan gerrymandering claims raised “political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.” This does not end the fight around partisan gerrymandering. At the federal level, Congress has the ability to set rules for redistricting of, at least, Congressional districts. In states …

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Packing and Cracking Districts

Partisan gerrymandering refers to “the practice of drawing electoral district maps with the intention of favoring one political party over another.” Both Democrats and Republicans engage in partisan gerrymandering when in control of redistricting. With partisan gerrymandering, minority party members can’t elect candidates in proportion to their statewide support for that party. Techniques mainly involve …

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Racial Gerrymandering – Bridging the Gap

Racial gerrymandering occurs when race unconstitutionally predominates in drawing districts and there is not a compelling state reason to do that. Complying with the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is such a compelling state reason. However, “states cannot mistakenly invoke the VRA to engage in excessive and unjustified uses of race in redistricting.” Racial gerrymandering claims …

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