Assault on Voting Rights: Gerrymandering in Gwinnett County

Republicans – racists white people –  do not want you to vote if you are black. Period.

In the history of voting in the United States, white people have always launched an assault on the voting rights of black people. Whites have tried every trick in the book to eliminate the black vote. During the Jim-Crow-era (1877 through mid-1960s), whites registrars would use the ‘jelly bean test’  as a technique to keep blacks from voting. The black voter would have to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar. Miraculously, white voters somehow would get the answer right but black voters were always wrong.

The assault on voting rights of blacks continues today through gerrymandering. As defined by Encyclopaedia Britannica,

“Gerrymandering, in U.S. politics, drawing the boundaries of electoral districts in a way that gives one party an unfair advantage over its rivals. The term is derived from the name of Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, whose administration enacted a law in 1812 defining new state senatorial districts. The law consolidated the Federalist Party vote in a few districts and thus gave disproportionate representation to Democratic-Republicans. The outline of one of these districts was thought to resemble a salamander. A satirical cartoon by Elkanah Tisdale appeared in the Boston Gazette; it graphically transformed the districts into a fabulous animal, “The Gerry-mander,” fixing the term in the popular imagination.” [read more]

As reported by Gwinnett Young Dems, a perfect example of gerrymandering is Georgia House District 105. The district is made up of Lawrenceville, Grayson and Snellville, all cities in Gwinnett County. House District 105 has a large populations of blacks, and voter turnout is always very high.  In 2014, Georgia Republicans redrew House District 105 to dilute the black vote.

During a press conference called by Georgia State Senator Vincent Fort when  redistricting of Georgia House District 105 took place in 2014, it was learned Democratics voted on the bill without knowing what was in it. In short, the Democratics did not read the entire bill and they were tricked by a member of their own party to gerrymander a district in favor of the Republicans!

The gerrymandering of Georgia House District 105 allowed white Republican Joyce Chandler to win the seat. [read more]

But things are changing and there is hope.

As reported by ThnkProgress, the Supreme Court seems to be ready to strike down partisan gerrymander.

Gill v. Whitford is the most important case the Supreme Court has heard in years. As Paul Smith, the attorney arguing against Wisconsin’s gerrymandered maps in Whitford, told the Court, if the justices allow such aggressive gerrymanders to persist, “the country is going to lose faith in democracy.

 

Whitford involves the Wisconsin state assembly maps — maps that were drawn to make it virtually impossible for Republicans to lose their majority.” [read more]

Eric Holder and the Democratic party have begun a redistricting war in Georgia. As reported by The Charlotte Observer, Georgia Representative Brian Strickland of District 111 in Henry County “agenda grew increasingly out of step with his rapidly changing constituency as more blacks, Hispanics and other minorities moved into his district as well as Henry County, a fast-growing, majority-minority exurb of Atlanta.

As his district grew more diverse, sure enough, Strickland’s margin of victory shrank in the 2012 election and even more in 2014.

With Republican hopes for a legislative supermajority in jeopardy, Georgia’s GOP lawmakers passed HB 566 in 2015, which removed 946 black voters from Strickland’s district and implanted 590 new white voters. In his closest election yet, Strickland defeated Democratic challenger Darryl Payton by 946 votes in 2016.

Payton and 10 other African Americans are now plaintiffs in the first federal lawsuit by former Attorney General Eric Holder’s new group, the National Redistricting Foundation, which will challenge Republican reapportionment efforts it sees as overly partisan or racially motivated in the run-up to the 2018 elections.

The suit claims Strickland’s re-drawn district and another, Georgia House District 105, were illegal racial gerrymanders designed to dilute African American voting power and empower white incumbents in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The foundation, which is backed by the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, will also challenge challenge questionable legislative and congressional maps drawn after the 2020 census.

Both groups hope to help Democrats exert more influence on the redistricting process after Republicans used sophisticated mapping technology to draw favorable electoral maps nationwide after the 2010 census. That effort, dubbed Operation REDMAP, helped Republicans capture more seats in Congress and in state-level races in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

The GOP now controls both state legislative chambers in 31 states, compared to 12 for Democrats.” [read more]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *