(Arlington, VA) Today, the Project on Fair Representation (POFR) released a White Paper urging states and sub-jurisdictions to use citizen voting age population rather than total population as the metric for redistricting U.S. election districts. The White Paper can be found at ProjectonFairRepresentation.org.
Every ten years States must redistrict to account for population shifts and ensure that districts contain equal population. Traditionally, States have used a “total population” measure as the basis for redistricting. But total population is riddled with problems. A total population measure is what it sounds like—districts are drawn on the basis of raw population, without regard to citizenship or voting eligibility. This means that districting can be distorted by the presence of non-voters in districts, such as non-citizens, children, and incarcerated prisoners. Moreover, using total population as the basis of redistricting contributes to the growing underrepresentation of rural voters and has been shown to disparately harm African Americans, who are overwhelmingly voting-eligible citizens.
To counteract these harms, many have been advocating for States to replace total population with “citizen voting age population” (CVAP) as the basis of redistricting. CVAP is a long-established measure of eligible voters that is widely used by courts, the Department of Justice, and state and local governments. It leads to more equal representation by ensuring only eligible voters are counted—unlike total population, which creates significant disparities in voting power among eligible voters. CVAP also promotes good government by imposing a straightforward standard to apportion seats that significantly reduces opportunities to engage in race-based manipulation of districts and gerrymandering.
Read the full Press Release here.
Read the full White Paper here.