For Immediate Release
March 3, 2016
Contact: Eric Lupher
New CRC Report Explores Potential Change in the Redistricting Process
A case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court could change how House of Representatives, Senate, and Congressional districts are drawn by changing the way that the population in each district is counted. The Evenwel v. Abbott case asks whether the “one person, one vote” principle outlined in Reynolds v. Sims and the equal protection provisions set forth by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution have been too broadly interpreted to define “people” as those counted in the decennial census. The Court is now considering the use of an alternative measure of population, such as the citizens of voting age population (CVAP), which counts only citizens of the United States that are of voting age (at least 18 years old) and not those incarcerated or otherwise disqualified. Such a change could have a significant impact on the political balance within certain regions of the country.
The newly released CRC paper “Exploring the Potential Effects of Evenwel v. Abbott,” examines impacts of a potential ruling requiring the use of citizens of voting age population rather than census populations to determine boundaries in each of Michigan’s 110 House of Representative districts, 38 Senate districts, and 14 Congressional districts.
“Several House districts representing Detroit, Southfield, Kalamazoo, Jackson, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, as well some districts in the northern Lower Peninsula would require the most change if the population used to calculate districts were to change,” reports CRC President Eric Lupher. “The Senate districts most significantly affected represent Detroit, Macomb County, Oakland County, Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Muskegon.”
Across the state, the 69th and 106th House districts would contract the most in size with the alternative population count. The 5th, 34th, and 1st House districts would shrink below current population levels and would therefore need to expand in size under a CVAP districting plan. The 18th, 11th, and 13th Senate districts would need to shrink in size, whereas the 2nd and 3rd Senate districts would need to expand in size under CVAP. Because these districts are not coterminous, the size of other districts would have to be altered to allow the size of these districts to change.
Lupher noted the changes could impact the political balance of power in Michigan. “The impact of a CVAP districting plan would be much more substantial in other areas of the country, but any time you alter the boundaries of legislative districts, there are going to be political ramifications.”
CRC’s report is available at no cost on the Citizens Research Council’s website, www.crcmich.org.