Electing Minorities

Are new methods needed to help minorities get elected?


More minorities than ever before have won congressional office in recent years, thanks in large part to the creation of electoral districts with majorities of minority voters. Now a Supreme Court decision has imperiled such districts in five Southern states, spawning litigation that could diminish previous gains. Civil rights lawyers contend that requiring states to draw majority-minority districts in their legislative maps is an appropriate remedy for past voting discrimination. White plaintiffs who have challenged these maps say their rights are being denied. Some critics want to move away from the traditional single-member, winner-take-all voting schemes that breed such disputes and toward the proportional representation plans used in many countries overseas. Others dismiss such approaches as “social engineering.”

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