Congressional Redistricting and the Voting Rights Act: A Legal Overview

Source: L. Paige Whitaker, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report for Congress, R42482, January 31, 2013

The Constitution requires a count of the U.S. population every 10 years. Based on the census, the number of seats in the House of Representatives is reapportioned among the states. Thus, at least every 10 years, in response to changes in the number of Representatives apportioned to it or to shifts in its population, each state is required to draw new boundaries for its congressional districts. Although each state has its own process for redistricting, congressional districts must conform to a number of constitutional and federal statutory standards, including the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, as amended. …