Before the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965, the practice of many states was to require qualified African Americans to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote. Other states only allowed a person to register to vote if his or her grandfather was allowed to vote. The Voting Rights Act outlawed these practices.

In the 1970s, Congress heard extensive input about how state and local governments drew district lines and manipulated elections rules to prevent newly-registered African American voters from being able to elect candidates of their choice. Today, the Voting Rights Act protects all racial and language minorities, including African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The Commission will consider public input and legal and expert advice to ensure its final maps meet the Voting Rights Act requirements.

For a more detailed description of how the Voting Rights Act works, visit the U.S. Department of Justice at: