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Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Winter 2018

Publication Citation

93 Indiana Law Journal 1033 (2018)

Abstract

In the 1960s, the Supreme Court famously imposed the one-person, one-vote requirement on federal, state, and local legislatures. The doctrine rapidly resolved the problem of malapportioned districts. Within just a few years, legislatures across the nation were reapportioned to equalize the population between districts. Sadly, however, the national commitment to equal-population districts has led directly to the current crisis of political gerrymandering. The boundaries of equal-population districts must be redrawn every ten years to maintain population equality. Even with rigid adherence to population requirements, district boundaries are easily manipulated to secure incumbent seats and advance partisan interests. Redistricting is rightly condemned for allowing politicians to pick their voters, instead of the other way around. Rather than reform the redistricting process, this Article proposes eliminating it by using weighted voting to comply with the one-person, one-vote requirement. To that end, this Article identifies several innovative countywide apportionment plans that use political units as electoral districts and allocate legislative votes to each district in proportion to its population. Weighted voting eliminates the need for strict population equality and enables the formation of fixed districts that reflect multiple dimensions of political representation. The Supreme Court’s notably flexible approach to the one-person, one-vote requirement at the local level grants local governments substantial discretion to experiment with local political institutions and electoral arrangements. Policy innovations that succeed in one locality can spread to others and stimulate change at the state and national level. This Article seeks to stimulate change at the state and national level by drawing attention to local weighted-voting apportionment plans.

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