On November 18, 2021, LDF filed an amicus brief in Contreras et al v. Illinois State Board of Elections et al. This case, originally filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), seeks a declaratory judgment that Illinois’s legislative redistricting plans passed by the Illinois General Assembly on August 31, 2021, and signed into law on September 24, 2021, violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and the Fourteenth Amendment because the plans dilute the Latino vote and were drawn using race as a predominant factor.
LDF’s brief informed the Court of how the redistricting plans reduced the voting strength of Black voters as well, particularly by eliminating seven majority-Black House districts and four majority-Black Senate districts, where Black voters had formerly been in the majority, without adequate analysis of the VRA implications and despite evidence that voting in the Chicago area continues to be racially polarized. We were joined by two local NAACP branches – the Chicago Westside Branch NAACP and NAACP Chicago Southside. Chicago’s Westside and Southside communities, which have the highest concentrations of Black people in the state, bore the brunt of the losses in representation.
To remedy the unjustified elimination of these majority-Black legislative districts, Amici offered a proposed remedial plan which restores six of the seven eliminated majority-Black Illinois House districts and two of the eliminated majority-Black Senate districts. As the court considers a remedy for the legal violations raised by Plaintiffs in this litigation, LDF’s brief asks the court to also ensure that any remedial redistricting plan also serves Illinois’s Black community and continues to provide Black voters an equal opportunity to elect their candidates of choice.
Read the full amicus brief here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.