The Virginia Supreme Court came through for prison inmates this week in a big way. As many Republican legislators have been doing, State Senator T. Travis Hackworth’s (R) only political intent is to keep the numbers of voters in his state low, so that he can keep his ill-gotten seat. He filed a lawsuit to disregard prisoners’ last known address, not their prison address while drawing districts. Individual voters and civil rights groups rose up and said no. Take a look at what they have managed to accomplish.
In breaking news, founder of Democracy Docket Marc E. Elias tweeted:
‘Breaking: A victory for voting rights in Virginia!’
The Republicans have tried to dilute the people’s voting power in rural Virginia. In addition, they asked, as The Democracy Docket reported:
‘[T]he court to prohibit the newly-formed Virginia Redistricting Commission from using the new redistricting laws to draw a new set of maps following the release of 2020 census data.’
Instead, the state Supreme Court pointed out that this “extraordinary relief they sought was not warranted and denied their petition.”
A number of civil rights and voting organizations filed amicus briefs against the lawsuit. An amicus brief is one that provides a more sympathetic advocate, and it could also give a boost to the defendants’ brief. They argued:
‘Prison Gerrymandering has a profound impact on the electoral strength of communities of color and particularly Black communities, as racial disparities in incarceration rates combine with the concentration of prisons in overwhelmingly white parts of the state to transfer political power away from Black communities—an effect that is compounded by the disenfranchisement of 1 in 7 Black Virginians who are unable to have a say in local electoral politics of either their prison districts or the communities from which they hail.’
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