Weightless Votes

23 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2012 Last revised: 5 May 2012

See all articles by Joseph Fishkin

Joseph Fishkin

UCLA Law School; University of Texas at Austin - School of Law

Date Written: January 6, 2012


Does one-person-one-vote protect persons, or voters? The Court has never resolved this question. Current practice overwhelmingly favors equal representation for equal numbers of persons. Opponents charge, however, that this approach dilutes the “weight” of some individual voters’ votes. This Essay examines what that might mean, and concludes that there is no coherent individual interest in the “weight” of a vote. It argues that the one-person-one-vote doctrine is really about something else: protecting the political power of numerical groups. In light of this conclusion, the last section of this Essay explores whether the numerical groups this doctrine protects ought to include all persons living in a jurisdiction, or only the citizens of voting age.

Keywords: election law, voting rights, vote dilution, one person one vote, reapportionment, redistricting, CVAP

Suggested Citation

Fishkin, Joseph, Weightless Votes (January 6, 2012). 121 Yale Law Journal 1888 (2012), U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 209, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1981002

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law ( email )

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