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Virginia Electoral Map Weakens Minority Choice, Professor Says

The 1965 Voting Rights Act was designed to give minorities more electoral power by concentrating them into voting districts. But a new analysis finds that those districts are significantly less competitive than other ones in Virginia.

There are 12 House of Delegate and 5 State Senate districts where minorities outnumber white voters. These seats have usually been easy wins for African American Democrats.

Mark Rush, a politics professor at Washington and Lee University, found that voter registration and turnout in those districts was a lot lower than other ones from 2001 to 2015. “The way we’re doing this is coming at the cost of giving minority voters a meaningful vote on election day. In many of these districts, no one needs to vote, because the outcome is a forgone conclusion.”

Federal Court judges ruled in June that the state legislature went beyond the Voting Rights Act by packing black voters into 11 districts. The courts gave until the end of October to draw up a new map.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story said there are 13 House of Delegate districts where minorities outnumber white voters. The are in fact 12 districts.