For Immediate Release
Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments Today in Evenwel Challenge to Equal Representation for All
Cook County and the City of Chicago Joined Brief Organized by Common Cause Backing a Count of All People for Redistricting State Legislatures
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in a case that could result in a significant change to the way states count their residents for redistricting purposes. If the plaintiffs in Evenwel v. Abbott prevail, states will count only voters when drawing state legislative districts instead of counting total population, which is the current practice in almost every state. This would result in an unusual situation in which the Constitution requires the use of total population when apportioning congressional districts but forbids states from using total population when drawing state legislative districts.
“The proponents of Evenwell are calling into question the longstanding constitutional standard of one person, one vote,” said Cook County Commissioner Chuy Garcia. “If changed, we will be moving from a standard that includes all people in the representation process to a scheme that excludes minors, undocumented veterans, and takes away the power given to communities to elect one of their own.”
Every person living in this country who is not registered to vote or is ineligible to do so would be left out of the population count, which would result in districts with wildly different populations and unequal representation in state legislatures. No state counts only voters for redistricting purposes and there is currently no accurate or uniform method for doing so.
“The City of Chicago strongly believes that every person should be counted and represented in the population count,” said Alderman Joe Moore. “The plaintiffs’ attempt to make millions of people who live in our communities invisible in our democracy is unconstitutional, unfair, and unjust.”
“Counties and cities of all sizes from across the country have come together to stand up for equal representation and oppose an unnecessary and costly new round of redistricting in all 50 states,” said Brian Gladstein, Executive Director of Common Cause Illinois.
You can listen to Common Cause’s teleconference previewing Evenwel here. Common Cause filed a “friend of the court” brief on its own behalf and organized 19 counties and cities to sign a separate brief. For more information contact Brian Gladstein at 773-505-5144.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.