One Person, One Weighted Vote

46 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2017

See all articles by Ashira Pelman Ostrow

Ashira Pelman Ostrow

Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law

Date Written: June 20, 2017

Abstract

This Article argues that weighted voting should be used to comply with the constitutional one-person, one-vote requirement while preserving representation for political units on the legislative body. First, this Article demonstrates that weighted voting satisfies the quantitative one-person, one-vote requirement by equalizing the mathematic weight of each vote. Second, this Article demonstrates that weighted voting has the potential to remedy several negative consequences of equal-population districts. Specifically, this Article argues that by preserving local political boundaries, weighted voting eliminates the decennial redistricting process that gives rise to claims of partisan gerrymandering, enables local governments to function both as administrative arms of the state and as independent political communities and provides a format for regional governance. Third, this Article recognizes that while weighted-voting equalizes the mathematic weight of each vote, it does not equalize all aspects of legislative representation. In particular, this Article explains that weighted-voting generates inequality in the functional representation each voter receives, inflates the political power and voting power of legislators from more populous districts, and increases the risk of minority vote dilution. Though the Supreme Court has never addressed the constitutionality of weighted voting, this Article argues that weighted voting does not violate the Equal Protection Clause. Thus, this Article concludes that while it is important to recognize the tradeoffs inherent in weighted-voting apportionment plans, these tradeoffs do not preclude their use.

Keywords: One Person One Vote, Weighted Voting, Voting, Gerrymandering, Local Elections, Local Legislatures, Counties, Regionalism, Equal Protection, Municipal Elections

JEL Classification: K19, K39

Suggested Citation

Ostrow, Ashira Pelman, One Person, One Weighted Vote (June 20, 2017). Florida Law Review, Vol. 68, p. 1839, 2016, Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-09, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2989784

Ashira Pelman Ostrow (Contact Author)

Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law ( email )

121 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
United States

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