US Supreme Court to rule on gerrymandering
The Supreme Court will soon determine if gerrymandering, where political parties re-draw voting districts in order to favour their party, is legal.
The will review a state ruling which found that officials engaged in "an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander".
A federal court ruled in Wisconsin that Republican lawmakers had violated the US Constitution's equal protection under the law and free speech clauses.
The case will set a legal precedent on the long-time political practice.
In May, the Supreme Court invalidated state electoral maps in North Carolina, after finding that Republicans legislators re-drew them to diminish the political clout of African-American voters.
But the court has not ever ruled on electoral maps that have been re-drawn simply to give a political advantage to one party over another.
In states controlled by Republicans, Democrats have long complained that voting districts are designed to disadvantage them. And the reverse applies in Democrat states, although they are fewer in number.
In 2010, when districts were last redrawn, Republicans controlled the process in a majority of states, which helped lock in their electoral advantage.
The practice of gerrymandering has grown and become more specific since the invention of modern computing technology, which allows politicians to more easily identify their supporters.
Up to one-third of electoral maps in the US could be affected by the justices' ruling, which is expected in the autumn.
Maps are re-drawn by lawmakers periodically, in order to assign congressional representatives in proportion to US census data.
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