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Prison Gerrymandering Challenge Moves Forward
February 28 – March 13, 2019
prison voting

Judge Warren W. Eginton wrote in an opinion February 19 denying Connecticut's motion to dismiss a case filed by the NAACP. The lawsuit is the first in the nation to take on a statewide practice of counting incarcerated people as residents of the legislative districts where they are held, rather than in their home districts.  This practice is known as “prison gerrymandering.”

The  “ruling is a step towards securing that constitutional right for the people of Connecticut, in a case that will matter for all states that continue to engage in this unconstitutional practice,” said NAACP General Counsel Bradford M. Berry.   The case will now proceed to discovery and potentially to trial. 

The complaint alleges that prison gerrymandering violates Connecticut residents’ constitutional rights to one person, one vote by inflating the power of predominantly White rural districts, where many prisons are located, to the detriment of urban districts, where many incarcerated persons maintain a permanent residence.

“Prison gerrymandering is a double punch, it takes away the political power of people of color and gives it to rural districts,” said Scot X. Esdaile, President of the NAACP Connecticut State Conference. “Not only are our communities devastated by mass incarceration, but this practice piles on by taking political equality away as well,” he continued.

The plaintiffs seek to compel Connecticut to adopt a new redistricting map that counts incarcerated individuals in their home state legislative districts rather than in the districts where they are incarcerated. 
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