Civil rights groups file Supreme court amicus brief in "one person, one vote" case

Sunday, Oct 4, 2015

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, together with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and five other civil rights groups, filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in Evenwel v. Abbott, a challenge to the "one person, one vote" principle that legislative districts should be drawn based on the total number of people who live within them. The Evenwel appellants seek to conduct Texas state redistricting using a metric other than total population, such as citizen voting age residents, registered voters, or actual voters. 

The amicus brief examines potential discriminatory effects that the Evenwel proposals would have on language minorities, communities of color, youth, immigrant communities, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented people. AALDEF highlighted the fact that many Asian American voters face language barriers, intimidation at the polls, and discrimination throughout the voting process--factors that restrict the numbers of naturalized citizens who register to vote and actually vote. Using metrics such as citizen voting age population would mean that 50-67% of the Asian American population would not be counted in the redistricting process.

"The Evenwel appellants seek to take our country back to a time when certain people literally did not count. They would prefer to ignore recent demographic trends and have a select few speak for the uncounted masses. The data shows that native-born whites would benefit, while Asian Americans and other language minorities, immigrants, and people of color would be adversely affected. The Supreme Court should reaffirm the lower court ruling and strike down the Evenwel appellants' thinly veiled attempt to disenfranchise millions of people," said Jerry Vattamala, Director of AALDEF's Democracy Program.

Download a copy of our brief here.

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For more information, contact:
Jerry Vattamala, Democracy Program Director
212.966.5932 x209, jvattmala@aaldef.org