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Election Law Litigation

Gustafson v. Johns

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(page last updated October 31, 2007 at 11:57 AM)

Case Information

All Courts: U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama (Case 1:05-cv-00352-CG-C); U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Case 06-13508-B)
Topic(s): Redistricting
State: Alabama
Date Filed: June 16, 2005

Summary

In this case Plaintiffs, Republicans and registered voters in the State of Alabama, are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief preventing the use of an allegedly unconstitutional redistricting map in state elections. Plaintiffs claim that the Alabama Senate and Alabama House of Representatives have redrawn district maps to purposefully dilute the vote of Republicans in the State. Plaintiffs point to the availability of technology that can draw districts with minimal overall population standard deviations and the accessibility to alternative maps with lower population deviations than that of the map adopted as evidence of the State legislature's lack of a good faith effort in redrawing the district map.

Plaintiffs allege that members of the Alabama Senate and Alabama House of Representatives are aware of the shifting of the population from urban to suburban areas. Plaintiffs allege that these growing urban districts, perceived to be Republican-leaning, were overpopulated in order to dilute the voting strength of Republican votes; at the same time, the slow growth suburban areas, perceived to be Democratic-leaning districts, were underpopulated to increase the strength of Democratic votes in said districts. Knowing that an overall population deviation of 10% among districts will be found to be presumptively constitutional, Plaintiffs state that the Senate and House of Representatives set this measure as a goal in order to maintain the presumption of constitutionality while still being able to violate the principle of "one person, one vote."

As Plaintiffs claim this new district map is unconstitutional, they are seeking a declaratory judgment as to the unconstitutionality of the map, and an injunction preventing the use of this map in any future elections.

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