National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Lauds Supreme Court Decision to Preserve Equal Representation in “One Person, One Vote” Case
Today, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled, 8-0, in Evenwel v. Abbott that every individual in America, regardless of whether they are eligible or registered to vote, will be entitled to equal representation, known as the “one person, one vote” principle.
“The Supreme Court's unanimous decision today to uphold the ‘one person, one vote’ principle is a victory for democracy and preserves the right to representation for millions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and for all Americans,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “Everyone counts in our nation’s democratic process. The lives of every individual in the United States--whether or not they are eligible to vote--are affected by government policies and therefore deserve representation. This includes children and legal permanent residents as well as people who are undocumented and those who have served their prison sentences but are not eligible to vote because of unjust disenfranchisement laws. We applaud the Supreme Court's decision to reaffirm the principle that representatives serve all residents, not just those eligible or registered to vote.'”
Most states create legislative districts based on total population, and today, the Supreme Court upheld this method and declared definitively "based on constitutional history, this Court’s decisions, and longstanding practice, that a State may draw its legislative districts based on total population."
The appellants in this case had sought to draw districts based on the population of eligible or registered voters. If they had been successful and districts were based on eligible voters, children under the age of 18 and legal permanent residents, among others, would not receive representation. In fact, more than 45% of the Asian American population and nearly 40% of the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population would have been excluded. If redistricting were limited to registered voters, millions of additional AANHPIs nationwide would have been disenfranchised because our rate of voter registration is approximately 37%. NCAPA member Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC prepared a fact sheet on this case.
Last September, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, and many other organizations filed an amicus brief in this case. The following nine NCAPA organizations were included as participating member organizations of LCCHR: Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance; Japanese American Citizens League; National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development; National Federation of Filipino American Associations; National Korean American Service & Education Consortium; OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates; Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund; South Asian Americans Leading Together; and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.