At Liberty Podcast
Khadidah Stone stands on the dividing line between her old Alabama congressional District 7, to her right with River City Church, and her new district, District 2, to her left, in downtown Montgomery, Ala., Sept. 20, 2022. The Supreme Court’s decision last June siding with Black voters on a redistricting case in Alabama gave Democrats and voting rights activists a surprise opportunity ahead of the 2024 elections to have congressional maps redrawn in a handful of states. Fast forward three months and maps in Alabama and other states that could produce more districts represented by Black lawmakers still don’t exist.
At Liberty Podcast

3 States, 3 Plaintiffs, and the Fight for Fair District Maps

February 15, 2024

All episodes

Since 1965, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) has been integral to protecting people of color at the polls. But in recent decades, the strength of the VRA has been diminished by decisions like Shelby County v. Holder in 2013, and the subsequent influx of voter restrictions imposed by states. Despite this, there are ways we can fight back in the courts. Section 2 of the VRA prohibits voting practices and procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership in certain language minority groups. It is the right of private individuals to challenge discriminatory voting practices and of organizations like the ACLU to support those who raise these challenges. But now, the right to bring these crucial cases before the courts is being threatened.

On January 30, we received a decision from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that it will not rehear Arkansas State Conference NAACP v. Arkansas Board of Apportionment, a case which challenges the Arkansas House district map for unlawfully stifling the voting strength of Black Arkansas residents. This decision upholds a 2022 lower court ruling in the case that radically concluded that voters may not sue to protect their voting rights under Section 2.

This is unprecedented—more than 400 Section 2 cases have been litigated in federal court in the past four decades to protect the voting rights of racial and language minorities, and private plaintiffs have brought the vast majority of them.

In today’s episode, you’ll hear from Barry Jefferson, Dorothy Nairne, and Khadidah Stone, three plaintiffs from Section 2 cases. They’ll discuss their experiences challenging racially gerrymandered district maps in their respective states, what compelled them to take action, and how we can all be voting rights advocates.

To learn more about redistricting, the cases we mentioned in this episode, and the ACLU’s efforts to protect voting rights, click here:

In this episode

This Episode Covers the Following Issues