The Voting Rights Act of 1965 took a beating last year with a Supreme Court ruling that enabled nine states — mostly in the South — to change election laws without advance federal approval.
But the tide may have started to turn ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act next year. Last week a Florida judge decided that the Republican-controlled Legislature illegally drew congressional districts to primarily aid the GOP and ordered the lines redrawn.
A similar lawsuit on the old practice of gerrymandering, which enables state officials to construct congressional districts to help one party over another, is pending in North Carolina.
The Associated Press reports that Republicans refined the practice of gerrymandering in 2011, allowing them to draw House districts so that they can control the U.S. House of Representatives. But in helping one party because of how the district lines are drawn, the competing party is shut out.
That’s where the courts have come in with Democrats seeking a more equitable system of apportionment so that black, Hispanic and liberal votes are not diminished.
Meanwhile, voter identification laws and other tactics are being put into place to suppress older, younger, minority and liberal votes that normally go to Democratic candidates. The ballot box battle continues on several fronts, waiting for a fix from Congress.
Court rulings on gerrymandering could only help.