As the nation honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a martyr in the dark, epic battle of desegregation in the United States, The Spy urges the Mayor & Council of Chestertown to enact The Chestertown Voting Rights Act.
Passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was one of MLK’s most transformative accomplishments. The Act was adopted only after a series of Supreme Court decisions that took judicial power to decide districting cases and enforce equally apportioned districts: One Person, One Vote. The Voting Rights Act added muscle through the courts to end dilution of voting influence that steal equal opportunity from minorities to compete in elections.
The Voting Rights Act applies to all political jurisdictions, including the Town of Chestertown. Many local jurisdictions with ward-based representation are statutorily mandated to re-examine their districts after every census. Chestertown has not undertaken reapportionment since 1995.
How have we ignored this for a quarter-century when the ACLU has clearly pointed out that Chestertown’s voting districts are illegal? The silence from the Chestertown government is deafening.
The Spy urges the enactment of a Chestertown Voting Rights Act, immediately, that requires the Mayor & Council to convene a racially diverse nonpartisan commission within six months following a decennial census. The ordinance should require the commission to hire an attorney at the town’s expense to advise on the process.
Let’s honor MLK’s legacy and pass The Chestertown Voting Rights Act.
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