Election Method Similar to Orange County Commissioners Ruled Unconstitutional by Federal Appeals Court

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (the federal court with jurisdiction over Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) on Tuesday by a 2-1 vote ruled that the City of Tucson's method of nominating city council members in districts and electing them citywide (similar to the Moses Carey hybrid system for Orange County commissioners) was unconstitutional. Don't know if this will be appealed by the city, and it isn't automatically applicable to North Carolina.

The opinion can be found at http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2015/11/10/15-16142.pdf.



Of course Tucson might ask for US Supreme Court review of the Court of Appeals case.

Taken to its extreme, the logic in here would have the entire country voting for the entire US Congress.  We are all governed by people that we didn't get a chance to elect, which seems to be the complaint here.  This hybrid system gives more representation than a fully ward system.  Are these judges really saying that in a ward system, council members only represent their ward? They are passing laws that govern the entire city/county/country.  They always have to balance this.  Having a hybrid system just makes that more clear in some ways as even if you are the District 1 rep from the primary, your work affects the entire county. 

actually James the Orange system would be analogous to every congressional member nominated in their district and elected statewide. The court says that a hybrid system denied equal protection to all the voters in Tucson. I'm not defending the court decision, just reporting it as the system is identical to that in Orange County

So I finally had a chance to read this...

I tend to agree with Jerry on most of it and that it could be appealed, and I do think this case pretty analagous to Orange County due to like in Tuscon the Democratic primary is the defacto election in Orange County, and it being a case decided on a federal Constitutional issue and not an Arizona state Constitutional issue.  

What I would add is that there are two issues at stake here.  First is the constitutency/district system vs at large system.  Under current interpretation of the Constitution both are permissable in a general sense so long as they don't work to disinfranchise minorities or in the case of districts are of roughly equal population per representative.  The second issue is whether primaries and general elections are two distinct elections, which if they were there would be no issue here, but they aren't as the court cites US v Classic which basically says that primaries and general elections are bound together.

It is at the intersection of these two issues where the case is decided.  Basically I would agree with you if the court had said that district systems were unconsitutional, but it doesn't say that. It is the intersection of district elections for primaries and at large elections for general elections which is the issue that the court says violates the 14th amendment one person one vote principle.

With that said this is the 9th circuit and doesn't apply to North Carolina.  For Orange County this decision would only apply if the US Supreme Court, the 4th Circuit or a NC federal district court judge said it did.  What it does do in my open the door to a lawsuit here in a big way.

If we were to utilize cumulative voting, we would not ever have to worry about districts, gerrymandering, etc. and significant minority groups (which often change based on issues) could elect someone who represents them.



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