Supreme Court Will Consider Redefining ‘One-Person, One-Vote’ Principle

Posted: May 26, 2015 in Politics

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The case was filed by voters in Texas who claim their ballots carry less weight than those of voters whose state Senate districts include large numbers of illegal immigrants.

While the Constitution is intended to protect the principle of one-person, one-vote, what remains unclear is whether districts must be apportioned based on the number of residents or the number of legal voters.

In states such as Texas, Arizona and California, where the number of illegal immigrants varies from one district to the next, drawing districts based on total population means that voters in one district will have less clout than those in the next.

In the Texas case, for instance, Sue Evenwel’s mostly rural district has about 584,000 citizens eligible to vote, while a neighboring urban district has only 372,000. As a result, voters in the urban district have more sway to influence the outcome.

The two voters challenging the state Senate maps claimed in their petition to the high court that in theory, the legislature could have put one voter in each of 30 Senate districts and all the state’s other voters into the 31st. (Such a plan would have trouble meeting other requirements, such as geographic contiguity.)

“The one-person, one-vote principle, by its terms, entitles voters to an equal vote,” the challengers said. “Unless the districting process no longer protects that right, the judgment below cannot stand.”

The organization behind the challenge, the Project on Fair Representation, also was the brainchild of other major Supreme Court cases challenging minority preferences. Among them: Fisher v. University of Texas, challenging the use of affirmative action policies in college admissions, and Shelby County, Ala., v. Holder, challenging a major section of the Voting Rights Act.

Full Story @ [USA Today]

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