In Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission the Supreme Court confirms that state and local governments don’t have to apportion legislative districts perfectly, but they do need a good reason for failing to doing so. But we knew that before.  

The Court held unanimously that Arizona’s redistricting plan, which had a total population deviation among districts of 8.8 percent, wasn’t unconstitutional. Those attacking the plan failed to show it is more probable than not that the deviation reflects illegitimate reapportionment considerations.

In what has been described as the most important “one-person, one-vote” case since the Supreme Court adopted the principle over 50 years ago, the Court held that states may apportion state legislative districts based on total population. Local governments may do the same.  

The Court’s opinion in Evenwel v. Abbott is unanimous. All 50 states currently use total population to design state legislative districts; only seven adjust the census numbers “in any meaningful way.”   

In Reynold v. Sims (1964) the Court established the principle of “one-person, one-vote” requiring state legislative districts to be apportioned equally so that votes would have equal weight. The question in this case is what population is relevant—total population or voter-eligible population. Total population includes numerous people who cannot vote—notably non-citizens and children.

Following the 2010 census Texas redrew its State Senate districts using total-population. The maximum total-population deviation between districts was about 8 percent (up to 10 percent is presumed constitutional); the maximum eligible-voters deviation between districts exceeded 40 percent.

Justice Ginsburg’s majority opinion concluding Texas may redistrict using total population is “based on constitutional history, this Court’s decisions, and longstanding practice.”

When Utah's GOP-dominated legislature didn’t foot the bill for a state-run presidential primary in 2016, it was left to the state parties to administer and fund Utah’s presidential caucuses. On March 22, the Utah Republican Party conducted one of the biggest online elections in the history of the United States by allowing eligible Utah Republicans the option of casting ballots online in the state’s closed presidential primary using desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones. 

Amidst the excitement for record turnouts in Maine’s Democrat caucuses on March 6th were feelings of frustration and disappointment when lengthy delays prevented many voters from participating in the process. While the majority of states hold presidential primaries, Maine is among the few states that currently rely solely on the caucus system, where meetings are arranged by either the state or political party and voters openly show support for candidates by raising their hands or breaking into groups.

With nearly 46,000...

In May 2015, Oregon became the first state in the country to approve automatic voter registration, which allows the state to automatically register eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license or state identification card.

A growing number of U.S. military members stationed overseas have seized the opportunity to cast their votes in the 2016 presidential primary.  A recent study suggests that spouses of active duty military (ADM) stationed overseas could be influencing their partners to participate in the election process. The study conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program found that overseas married service members were more likely to vote than their unmarried counterparts. This correlation between spouses and voting participation could be particularly useful during a time when efforts are being made to streamline the voting process and encourage more overseas military personnel to vote.

Millennials (born between 1982 and 2000) are now the largest generation in the U.S. with an estimated population of 83.1 million; that’s bigger than the baby boomer generation. Although their numbers are significant, they aren’t showing up to vote.

With the 2016 presidential primary elections in full swing, the ballot selfie is quickly becoming an important part of voting culture and political expression in the states, adapted to modern life and modern technology. New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary proved this to be true when ballot selfies began trending hard on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.  Last year, U.S. District Judge for the District of New Hampshire Paul Barbadoro, who was appointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1992, struck down a...

Nevada’s military services members, their families and civilians residing overseas were provided the opportunity to have their votes cast in the state’s 2016 caucuses. This is an important development as caucusing historically has been a you-have-to-be-there event. 

CSG Midwest
Shortly before the close of the 19th century, the citizens of South Dakota approved a constitutional amendment authorizing the use of two new tools of direct democracy, the voter initiative and the popular referendum.
The first-of-its-kind state constitutional provision heralded a new era in voter participation in the lawmaking process, even as it reflected longstanding American traditions of civic engagement dating back to New England’s earliest town hall meetings.