By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
WILLINGBORO – The NAACP Willingboro and Vicinity Branch called out gerrymandering during its latest podcast by president Samantha Whitfield and second vice president William Weston on Independence Day.
Whitfield and Weston made the comments on the Willingboro’s NAACP’s podcast “Real Justice.”
Their comments were based on a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision last month that said the court would not step into remedy gerrymandering of voting districts for party gain. Gerrymandering is a practice intended to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries.
Chief Justice John Roberts said in his opinion that political questions over drawing voting districts were “beyond the reach of the federal courts.”
The Supreme Court decision was sparked by two cases, one favoring Republicans in North Carolina and other favoring Democrats in Maryland. In both cases, the court declined to intervene, bringing a strong dissent from Justice Elena Kagan.
Whitfield and Weston said that the districts were not only unfair drawn, but actually diluted voting power.
“I believe this ruling endorses and promotes voter disenfranchisement,” Weston said. “Districts should be drawn fairly and (not for) strongholds of power.”
Whitfield said that some districts are so oddly shaped that it is obvious by looking on a map that they have been unfairly manipulated.
“Some of the districts drawn don’t even make sense,” Whitfield said, claiming that it is a form of voter suppression. “They are so skewed toward one party you can physically see it on the map. You can tell there’s some shady business going with the drawing of the maps.”
NAACP national president Derrick Johnson spoke out against the Supreme Court ruling on July 27.
“The court’s rulings today upend our democratic principles by allowing party politics to determine the outcomes of our elections,” Johnson said in a statement. “Extreme partisan gerrymandering has infected our electoral process for far too long. Exercise of the franchise, which many fought and even died for, must not be reduced to a political charade in which the outcomes are predetermined.”
Whitfield and Weston also touched on the subjects of the hearing on local police use of force put sponsored by the Salvation and Social Justice group, prisons and a jobs campaign. You can listen to the podcast here.