For 50 years the “one person, one vote” principle has been used to try to equally distribute political power by counting all people in states and cities, and then putting them into election districts of roughly the same size.
But the mathematics of power may be about to change in a way that could shift political clout away from the fast-growing Latino communities in states such as California, Texas and Florida, and move it to suburban and rural communities.
The Supreme Court said Tuesday that it will hear a Texas case to decide whether voting districts should continue to be drawn by using census data on total population, including immigrants who are in the United States both legally and illegally, or by counting only citizens who are eligible to vote, as conservative challengers are now seeking.
Election law analysts were surprised by the court’s move. Despite decades of decisions on voting rights, the justices have steered clear of clarifying whether election districts should have an equal number of residents or an equal number of eligible voters.