American News

Understanding Racial and Partisan Gerrymandering

US Supreme Court gerrymandering ruling news, North Carolina gerrymandering news, Wisconsin gerrymandering case news, does gerrymandering violate the Constitution news, gerrymandering news, racial gerrymandering news, partisan gerrymandering news, news on America, US congressional elections news, US politics news

© Gayvoronskaya Yana

July 25, 2017 19:10 EDT

It is often difficult to distinguish between racial and partisan gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering is a practice of drawing district lines for the purpose of influencing an election. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed to ensure that the rights of minorities — in particular blacks in the American South — were represented in Congress by creating congressional districts with majorities of minority voters.

Racial gerrymandering, however, has turned this law on its head, with district lines being redrawn to dilute voting rights based on race. In a recent Supreme Court case, Cooper v. Harris, it was determined that North Carolina violated voting rights when it redrew its electoral map in 2011 and the state was ordered to redraw its congressional map before the 2018 elections.

Partisan gerrymandering falls under different guidelines and is much more difficult to prove, as many minority groups tend to vote Democrat. For example, in Maryland, seven out of eight congressional seats went to the Democrats in the 2016 election, while Democratic candidates only won 60% of the popular vote, indicating a political affiliation in the way the voting maps are drawn.

Redistricting is one of the most vital aspects of the US democratic system and must be carefully considered. As the Supreme Court continues to hear cases on whether gerrymandering violates the Constitution, it provides an opportunity to better define just how much partisanship is too much when it comes to guaranteeing equal representation.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

Photo Credit: Gayvoronskaya Yana /

For more than 10 years, Fair Observer has been free, fair and independent. No billionaire owns us, no advertisers control us. We are a reader-supported nonprofit. Unlike many other publications, we keep our content free for readers regardless of where they live or whether they can afford to pay. We have no paywalls and no ads.

In the post-truth era of fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles, we publish a plurality of perspectives from around the world. Anyone can publish with us, but everyone goes through a rigorous editorial process. So, you get fact-checked, well-reasoned content instead of noise.

We publish 2,500+ voices from 90+ countries. We also conduct education and training programs on subjects ranging from digital media and journalism to writing and critical thinking. This doesn’t come cheap. Servers, editors, trainers and web developers cost money.
Please consider supporting us on a regular basis as a recurring donor or a sustaining member.

Support Fair Observer

We rely on your support for our independence, diversity and quality.

Will you support FO’s journalism?

We rely on your support for our independence, diversity and quality.

Donation Cycle

Donation Amount

The IRS recognizes Fair Observer as a section 501(c)(3) registered public charity (EIN: 46-4070943), enabling you to claim a tax deduction.

Make Sense of the World

Unique Insights from 2,500+ Contributors in 90+ Countries

Support Fair Observer

Support Fair Observer by becoming a sustaining member

Become a Member