March 31, 2016

Of Interest to Coloradans

I am a huge proponent of disproportionate representation in the Colorado Legislature. For all our positives, we have a structural problem in the balance between rural and urban polities. The best solution I have heard was to give equal representation to each of her 64 counties.

Enacting that would face intense political hurdles from those losing power, plus the "sacred principle of 1-man, 1-vote" would be contravened.

Ilya Somin has a great piece in the Volokh Conspiracy examining the principle, obvious contradictions like the US Senate, and case law and legal challenges going forward.

Before Reynolds, the most common form of unequal apportionment was one in which rural districts got greater weight relative to urban ones. But urban areas have relatively greater concentrations of celebrities, intellectuals, academics, journalists, lobbyists, unionized public employees, and others who wield disproportionate political influence by means other than voting. Giving extra voting power to rural areas may, at least in part, simply counterbalance these advantages of city-dwellers. Other types of unequal apportionment might also help offset non-electoral forms of political inequality. Inequalities in apportionment might also, in some cases, help diminish the negative effects of widespread political ignorance by giving greater weight to areas with higher proportions of relatively well-informed voters.

Short, informative, and interesting -- I think all would dig it.

Colorado SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at March 31, 2016 4:45 PM

One man, one vote? That's rather anthropocentric isn't it?

If it is proper to seek laws to protect and secure rights for "nature" is it not also proper to give electoral representation to nature? Nature is proportionally overpopulated in rural areas and, under current legislative allocations, proportionally underrepresented.

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2016 5:15 PM

Liked the article. Considering who else to share it with.

Meanwhile, this legal analysis [PDF] is related. It considers voting schemes for special districts, which often apportion votes based on land ownership. Such schemes have been sanctioned by SCOTUS. The conclusion is on page 200 if you're in a hurry. Hint - the author is hostile to the principle. (Not sure the current status of this. The analysis is dated 1981.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 1, 2016 12:21 PM

Also related: The current case which prompted Somin's article - Evenwel v. Abbott

Issue: Whether the three-judge district court correctly held that the "one-person, one-vote" principle under the Equal Protection Clause allows States to use total population, and does not require States to use voter population, when apportioning state legislative districts.
Posted by: johngalt at April 1, 2016 12:28 PM | What do you think? [3]