With our colleagues at the National Voting Rights Project, we filed an amicus brief in a critical voting rights case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, Evenwel v. Abbott. The case was brought by voters from rural senatorial districts in Texas who claimed Texas discriminates against them by drawing districts based on total population rather than on the number of registered voters. Had the plaintiffs prevailed, the result would have been a transformational shift of legislative power from densely packed urban districts to sparsely populated rural ones. Our brief argued that apportionment based on total population is a legitimate way to implement the republican principle of universal and equal representation. Even people who do not or cannot vote—such as children and immigrants—are entitled to representation. On April 8, 2016, the Supreme Court voted unanimously to affirm current standards of voter distribution based on total population.
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