“Legislators represent people, not trees or acres. Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests.”
–Chief Justice Earl Warren
Reynolds v. Sims
Think we all have an equal voice in choosing our state representatives? Think again. The truth is, some people’s votes count more than others. In states across the nation, from Vermont to California, powerful rural districts have more state legislators than their sparse populations justify.
Two years ago, one Alabama representative’s district contained more than 600,000 people, while another’s held just 15,417.
After last month's Supreme Court decisions, Alabama and every other state, must ensure that each legislator represents roughly the same number of people. That, says the Court, is what the 14th Amendment–which guarantees "equal protection" to all citizens–requires.
Complying will cause massive upheaval. Most, if not all, states must redraw their voting districts. But once the dust settles, we’ll be a lot closer to the kind of democracy many people thought we already had.