Monday morning, the Supreme Court delivered a unanimous decision in Evenwel v. Abbott, the case challenging the well-established “one person, one vote” principle that legislative districts should be based on the total number of people who live within them.
By seeking to narrow those counted in districting to registered or eligible voters only, instead of the general population, the challenge would have stripped representation for a broad swath of people, including LGBT people, immigrants, people of color, families with children, the formerly incarcerated, and those living with disabilities.
In September 2015, Lambda Legal joined an amicus brief submitted by a coalition of civil and voting rights groups, highlighting the impact that reversing this key principle would have on underrepresented populations. Today’s ruling affirms the principle that it is “one person, one vote” that counts, not “one voter, one vote.” It holds that, when it comes to redrawing legislative districts, everyone is entitled to representation because our elected officials represent us all, not just those who have the right to vote.
Following the decision Monday, Lambda Legal Legal Director and Eden/Rushing Chair Jon W. Davidson said, “Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a big victory for democracy and voting rights. For as long as a person is subject to the government’s laws, sends their children to public schools, or walks or drives to work on public roads, they are entitled to representation in government.”
Davidson added, “Much more work remains to ensure fair and inclusive representation, and to prevent cynical attempts to suppress voter participation across the country. We must restore the Voting Rights Act and fight restrictive voter ID laws, which frequently create problems for transgender voters, who often face challenges obtaining identification that matches their gender identity and expression. Lambda Legal will continue its efforts to protect voting rights around the country.”