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Opinion | Is the 1965 Voting Rights Act in danger of being gutted out of existence? | Otis Sanford

ABC24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shared his point of view on voting rights and gerrymandering.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Is the 1965 Voting Rights Act in danger of being gutted out of existence? Some voting rights advocates say yes, which is why a case that was argued Tuesday before the U.S. Supreme Court is worth watching closely.

The case is from Alabama and involves a congressional redistricting map approved by that state’s Republican controlled legislature. The new map is drawn so that only one of the state’s seven congressional districts will likely elect an African American to the seat. A lower court said that amounts to racial gerrymandering and a violation of the voting rights act since African Americans make up nearly 28% of Alabama’s population - double what one congressional district represents.

The state’s Republican leaders insist the new map is race neutral. And if the Supreme Court agrees – which is likely – it could further reduce and even eliminate the power of the voting rights act.

The pending decision has ramifications from Mississippi, which has a Black population of about 38%, but only one of the state’s four congressmen is Black, which amounts to 25% Black representation.

All of this matters because voting rights has become such a divisive issue in the country. After so many people marched, fought, bled, and died for the right to vote, it would be a shame to see further erosion of one of the most significance federal laws in our history.

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