On August 9, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF)”, American Civil Liberties Union, South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, League of Women Voters of South Carolina, South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, and South Carolina Progressive Network Education Fund sent a letter to remind the Redistricting Ad Hoc Committee of its baseline affirmative obligations to comply with the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. In particular, officials must ensure equality of access to representation to all South Carolinians, and the non-dilution of the voting strength of South Carolina’s racial minority voters where relevant conditions exist. LDF and partners encourage the Committee to create meaningful opportunities for all residents to engage in each phase of the redistricting process—both in person and remotely, and both before and after receiving the U.S. Census data, beginning in mid-August and no later than September 30, 2021. The Committee must ensure that any maps it adopts comply with the “One Person, One Vote” mandate of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause3 and Section 2’s “nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting.” The Committee must also ensure public involvement and transparency during all phases of redistricting and should model best practices for local government. Last week, the coalition also sent a letter to the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Redistricting Subcommittee outlining these concerns.
Read the full August 9 letter here.
On August 30, LDF sent a follow up letter to reiterate concerns about the Committee’s failure to provide transparency and opportunities for meaningful public participation in advance of any vote on state legislative plans, and ask additional questions about how the Committee plans to proceed now that the redistricting cycle is underway. Since the first letter was sent, the Committee has failed to make any effort to provide transparency about its redistricting process and seemingly intends to deny sufficient opportunities for public participation. LDF’s letter includes the following questions:
Read the full August 30 letter here.
Ahead of the 2021 redistricting cycle, LDF, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, and MALDEF released Power on the Line(s): Making Redistricting Work for Us, a guide for community partners and policy makers who intend to engage in the redistricting process at all levels of government. The guide provides essential information about the redistricting process, such as examples of recent efforts to dilute the voting power of communities of color and considerations for avoiding such dilution. Read the guide 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. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.