In an opinion piece on LoHud.com, one of the attorneys in Port Chester’s voting rights case revives questions about the effect of including non-U.S. citizens in the population count for districting purposes.
This argument came up during the DOJ’s lawsuit in Port Chester when the village was fighting a switch from at-large voting to single-member districts for trustees. Aldo Vitagliano (at left), who wrote the opinion piece, and attorney Anthony Piscionere argued that the presence of so many non-citizens in Port Chester would skew the voting power of people in various districts, violating the “one person, one vote” principle. An organization called the Project on Fair Representation argued this point also.
At the time, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers in the case told me that such an argument was extremist nonsense — “a fairy tale.”
The village was ordered to change its trustee election system after it was deemed unfair to Hispanics, in violation of the Voting Rights Act. As it turned out, the village was not forced to create districts, switching instead to the unusual cumulative voting method as the remedy to its voting rights violation.