In case you haven’t noticed, this is a really important week for people of color in the cases on voting rights and affirmative action that are currently under review by the Supreme Court. How our Supreme Court justices decide on these cases could have huge and negative impacts on our voting power as well as our chances of college admission.
Here are the details on these current Supreme Court cases that America’s Black women should be watching and talking about in the months ahead:
Political Representation For America’s Most Vulnerable Is At Risk In Evenwel v. Abbott
Supreme Court Justices are revisiting the “one person, one vote” principle in asking if state districts should count all residents or just eligible voters in the Evenwel v. Abbott case.
The issue here is that reducing district counting to only those eligible to vote further marginalizes groups that are already disadvantaged or ineligible for the franchise. This includes undocumented immigrants, children and convicts—groups that are already often concentrated in urban areas. What’s more, counting all residents is important to ensure that politicians are representative of everyone, including those who can’t make a ballot.
The additional challenge of changing states’ voting practice is that the census is the only constitutionally required data that is pulled to profile populations. The census counts everyone regardless of their voter status; there has yet to be similar data pulled that is just for eligible voters.
Having these disenfranchised groups counted in voting districts strengthens voting power for Democrats. Doing the opposite advances Republicans because conservatives have higher percentages of eligible voters.
Most states and localities currently count all residents when creating voting districts. The case was waged by the Project on Fair Representation, a small conservative advocacy group. The plaintiffs who waged the case were concerned that their districts were overpopulated and that eligible voters were getting multiple votes. The decision expected to be reached in June.
The Supreme Court has yet to make an official ruling on who should be counted, as “one person one vote.” That voting principle currently only counts for the whole US political system, the Senate being the only exception.
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