An attorney for Republican interests asked a federal court today to scrap the map for the new legislative districts.
State and federal laws generally require all voting districts to be the same population. But they also permit some disparities if they're designed to meet other legitimate goals, like complying with the federal Voting Rights Act to protect minority voting strength. In this case, though, attorney David Cantelme contends the Independent Redistricting Commission drew the lines solely to create Democrat-dominated districts with less population and Republican districts with more. He said that means those in the overpopulated districts have less individual effect on the outcome.
"The problem is diluting individuals' voting rights," Cantelme said. "Democrats could have filed who live in the affected districts, could have been parties also, plaintiffs. Or independents. The fact is you cannot dilute somebody's vote, which is precious, just to favor one part over another. That's not a legitimate state interest."
He also said the commission did what it did to create another district where Democrats have an edge in electing their own to the Legislature. But attorney Mary O'Grady told the three-judge panel the commission HAD to make population adjustments to meet other criteria, including protecting minority voting strength. And she said the commission is entitled to flexibility in how it meets its goals without having the process second-guessed and micromanaged by the courts. If the judges ultimately side with Cantelme, that will force the commission to start the year-long process of drawing legislative lines over from scratch.