The risks of not redistricting

Federal and state courts have shown no tolerance for such concerns over the past half-century, insisting instead on implementing the principle of one-person-one-vote through the mechanism of redistricting based on equal population.  Those responsible for local government redistricting should not lull themselves into thinking that they will prevail in court if their failure to redistrict is challenged.  They should learn from the bitter experience of the Vigo County commissioners (all of whom happened to be Democrats) who were sued in 1993 by the Vigo County Republican Central Committee.  Not only did the plaintiffs win, the judge also accepted the Republican Central Committee’s redistricting plan over the one the commissioners belatedly produced and the commissioners were ordered to pay the plaintiff’s legal expenses.  

Illegally-constituted county councils and school boards run other risks.  Given that they had ample notice that they ought to have redistricted, courts might entertain a challenge to results of the 2012 elections in jurisdictions in which the lines of districts are illegally drawn, thus conceivably requiring new elections.  Or they might allow challenges to decisions made by those illegally-constituted boards or councils.