Yakima and the state of Washington are on opposing sides in a U.S. Supreme Court case seeking to define “one person, one vote.” The state Attorney General’s Office has joined 20 other states in filing a friend-of-the-court brief opposing the plaintiffs in Evenwel v. Abbott, a Texas redistricting case that could in effect overturn Yakima’s new district-based council election system. Yakima previously filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs, who are seeking to require state legislative districts be drawn by eligible voter population and not total population, as is currently the practice in all 50 states. The brief filed by the 21 states in opposition to Evenwel says requiring states to redistrict based on eligible voters would disrupt their “long reliance on well-settled redistricting practices,” adding that states lack any “reliable, administrable method” to carry out such a process.
“If adopted by this court, appellants’ position would throw state redistricting across the country into chaos, replacing current, administrable practices with a standard that is ill-defined in theory and unworkable in practice,” the 63-page brief, filed Sept. 25, says.
That’s due in part to the fact that the U.S. Census doesn’t collect data on citizenship, an important metric in determining eligible voters, and estimates of those populations can be incomplete and inaccurate, according to the brief, which was authored by the state of New York.