What is the Voting Rights Act?

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a federal legislation that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act prohibits electoral practices that are “not equally open to participation by the members of a (racial, color, or language minority) in that its members have fewer opportunities than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice.” Thus, the Voting Rights Act can be violated by either intentional discrimination in the drawing of district lines or by a facially neutral redistricting plan that has the effect of diluting minority votes.

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1. What is redistricting?
2. What does “substantially” equal mean?
3. What is a community of interest?
4. What is the Voting Rights Act?
5. What is “cracking” and “packing”?