Saturday, March 2, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
The Supreme Court’s ‘One Person, One Vote’ Case
By Heritage Foundation @ 5:10 PM :: 4561 Views :: Office of Elections

How the Supreme Court’s ‘One Person, One Vote’ Case Could Boost Republican Clout

by Natalie Johnson Daily Signal, September 16, 2015

The Supreme Court will trek into a redistricting case this fall that will settle the contested meaning of the “one person, one vote” principle that has shaped American elections for over half a century.

At hand is whether electoral districts should continue to be drawn using a state’s total population, which is the current precedent, or if the system should shift to account only for eligible voters.

The two Texans who filed the case, Evenwel v. Abbott, argued the weight of their votes was diluted because the state used raw population to draw its electoral districts, which included a large number of ineligible voters such as immigrants legally in the U.S. who do not hold citizenship and illegal immigrants.

The plaintiffs live in a district with a greater number of qualified voters than several other districts in the state, which they contend leaves them with about half the vote of others in their state.

Under the current standard established in the 1964 Supreme Court case Reynolds v. Sims, electoral districts must have nearly equal populations, but the court did not clarify who is included in this population.

Andrew Grossman, an appellate lawyer with Baker Hostetler, said Tuesday noncitizen populations were not a relevant factor when the “one person, one vote” standard was adopted. At the time, undocumented immigrants made up about a third of a percent of the U.S.’s total population.

Today, they make up about 4 percent of the population, clustering unevenly in urban areas across a handful of states, including Texas and California.

Grossman said because of the uptick in the number of undocumented immigrants who are concentrated more heavily in certain districts, the distinction between total population and eligible voting population does make a difference in the weight of votes.

“The result is that basing apportionment on raw population causes very large deviations in vote weight between districts—the very disparity the one person, one vote was intended to eliminate,” he said.

The court’s decision could significantly transform redistricting in the U.S. If the court sides with the plaintiffs, voting power would shift from cities with typically greater noncitizen populations to rural areas generally held by Republicans.

“The political implications are enormous,” Sean Trende, the senior elections analyst at RealClearPolitics, said.

Citing data from the polling aggregation site FiveThirtyEight, Trende said of the 20 congressional districts with the heaviest share of eligible voters, Republicans control 15. On the other end, of the 20 congressional districts with the lowest share of eligible voters, Democrats control 17.

Those districts with a greater number of eligible voters will remain largely untouched while those with a greater concentration of ineligible voters will be “dismantled entirely, merged into each other, or pushed out into the suburbs,” Trende said.

The court’s decision would extend to congressional elections, potentially giving Republicans eight more seats in the House if the plaintiffs win, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Grossman said previous court rulings regarding redistricting standards have consistently held voter equality at the core of “one person, one vote.” If the Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs, he said, it would reinforce that precedent.

“The court would simply clarify that when it directed states to ensure that the districts contain roughly equivalent populations, it meant the population of eligible voters.”


Related: Evenwel v Abbott Could Affect Hawaii Reapportionment

Representation based on 'Eligible Voters' would Underrepresent Families


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii