Court rules Virginia legislative districts unconstitutional

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal court has found that 11 Virginia legislative districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered and ordered lawmakers to redraw the state’s electoral map by the end of October.

A three-judge panel ruled 2-1 Tuesday in a lawsuit that accused lawmakers of illegally packing black voters into certain districts to make surrounding districts whiter and more Republican.

The case filed by Democratic voters made its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In March, the high court threw out a ruling that upheld 11 districts in which African-Americans made up at least 55 percent of eligible voters and ordered the lower court to re-examine the boundaries.

The state argued that the 55 percent threshold was necessary so minority voters could elect a candidate of their choice. But the voters who sued said it diluted the voting power of African-Americans.

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