Supreme Court ruling supports U.S. voting rights

Apr 5, 2016

Vote22The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is pleased the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday strongly supported the fundamental tenet of the United States’ representative system in its ruling on Evenwel v. Abbott.

The Court in a unanimous decision upheld the principle that elected officials at all levels of government are selected by all people in their elective jurisdictions and represent the interests of each person who live in their districts.

This ruling rejected the notion of the plaintiffs in Evenwel v. Abbott that the votes of eligible or registered voters should be counted in drawing up Texas Congressional districts.

Had the court sided with the plaintiff, Texas would have been prevented from using total population data, which includes children, inmates, disenfranchised ex-felons, noncitizen immigrants and other people who are ineligible to vote.

The ruling is significant because it preserves the standard of “one person, one vote” which had been the Constitutional law of the land since this nation’s inception.

While the decision applies to redistricting electoral jurisdictions within each state and does not expressly prohibit states from using the eligible voter criteria, the majority opinion clearly indicates that states must use total population when drawing legislative districts.

State and local legislators make crucial decisions about funding and creating laws that impact building or improving roads and schools and providing services for every person in the community.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling on Evenwel v. Abbott is a huge win for our democracy. It affirms the principle that everyone counts and everyone deserves representation.

The courts should continue to reject these politically-motivated attempts to manipulate our democracy in favor of a limited number of people. We need only look at the Flint, Mich. water crisis to see how important it is that all persons have a stake in who will represent them.

For more information on this issue contact NASW Social Justice and Human Rights Manager Mel Wilson at

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