After each census, state legislatures must redraw voting districts for state and local elections. Each state legislature must perform this redistricting in a way that protects two important citizen rights. First, each citizen's vote must carry equal weight. Second, each citizen must have equal access to his or her representative. To this end, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that all state and local electoral apportionments must result in districts with equal populations. In Reynolds v. Sims, the Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all state and local electoral apportionments to result in districts with equal populations. However, the Court has never defined what "population" state and local governments must equally distribute to comply with this requirement. This has resulted in a conflict among the federal circuit courts. Circuit courts that have addressed this issue have articulated three primary approaches to state political apportionment: first, according to "total population"; second, according to different types of "voter-population"; or third, according to the state's choice of total population or voter population. This Comment argues that the constitutional rights to both representational equality and electoral equality require that states apportion state and local electoral districts that are equal in terms of both total population and voter population. This Comment proposes that the U.S. Supreme Court adopt a "dualstandard" test in which both state and local electoral districts cannot deviate by more than ten percent in terms of either total population or citizen-voter age population.
Timothy M. Mitrovich,
Notes and Comments,
Political Apportioning Is Not a Zero-Sum Game: The Constitutional Necessity of Apportioning Districts to Be Equal in Terms of Both Total Population and Citizen Voter-Age Population,
77 Wash. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol77/iss4/7