ACLU Urges General Assembly to Address Redistricting in Upcoming Session
Highlights unequal voting power created by current maps and financial liability if tabled until 2014.
December 17, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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FRANKFORT, KY – On December 11, the ACLU of Kentucky sent House and Senate leaders of both parties an Open Letter urging the General Assembly to draw and approve legislative district maps in the upcoming Regular Session. The ACLU highlighted that the maps currently in place were adopted in 2002 and, as a result of population changes since then, vary widely in the number of Kentuckians residing in those districts. The ACLU explained that because of these dramatic population variations, the maps now violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s “one person, one vote” principle by allowing Kentuckians’ votes in less populated districts to have more weight than those in more heavily populated districts.
The 2002 maps are currently in place because the maps passed earlier this year were struck down by the Kentucky Supreme Court for violating Section 33 of the Kentucky Constitution. Legislators disaffected by those maps challenged their legality in Franklin Circuit Court which ultimately led to the Kentucky Supreme Court decision. That litigation also resulted in a court order requiring the Legislature to pay almost $190,000 in the challengers’ court costs and attorneys’ fees.
In explaining the significance of the current population disparity among the districts, ACLU of Kentucky Staff Attorney William Sharp stated, “Under the 2002 House map, there is a population disparity between the least and most populated districts that exceeds 60 percent. This means that the votes cast by Kentuckians residing in House District 60 are weighted about half of those cast in House District 43.” Sharp added, “Fair and equal representation is the cornerstone of our democracy, and it requires that this disparity be addressed.”
Michael Aldridge, ACLU of Kentucky Executive Director, also stated, “Resolving this issue should be the General Assembly’s first priority in the upcoming Regular Session, because failure to do so will not only be a continuing abdication of their constitutional obligation, but also will result in wasting more taxpayer money on an issue that can, and should be, easily resolved in a bi-partisan manner.”
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