Lawsuit Filed Against “Prisoner Gerrymandering” in Jefferson County, Florida

Jefferson County, Florida, is in northern Florida and had a population of only 14,761 at the 2010 census.  It elects County Commissioners from five single-member districts.  District three happens to contain a state prison that has 1,157 inmates.

On March 9, some voters who live in Jefferson County, but outside district 3, filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the County Commission Districts violate the U.S. Constitution.  When the county draws the districts, it uses census data to make sure the districts have approximately equal population.  However, 43.2% of the voting age population in District 3 is in prison, and prisoners can’t vote.  The lawsuit charges that the actual number of people who are permitted to vote in District 3 is far smaller than in the other four districts, and therefore voters in the other four districts are underrepresented.  The lawsuit is Calvin v Jefferson County Board of Commissioners, n.d., 4:15cv-131.  The ACLU is handling the case.


Lawsuit Filed Against “Prisoner Gerrymandering” in Jefferson County, Florida — 6 Comments

  1. For the totally clueless on this list —

    In a REAL Democracy —
    a legislative body exists ONLY because ALL Electors-Voters can NOT appear in person and vote on legislative body stuff.

    SCOTUS is brain dead ignorant about the point due to armies of MORON lawyers since 1962 – Baker v. Carr.

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  2. This and many other voting rights issues can be easily solved through pure proportional representation (PR).

    Here’s another article on PR by the folks at

    Here is a interview by one of the 48 candidates for US President who are interested in the unifying voting system of PR and who are part of the new United Coalition:

    Keenan spoke about the unity, he has spoken very well about the United Coalition for proportional; representation and the idea was received well by the host of the show.

    Keenan said; “We are going to try to revolutionize politics and we’re going to do it together.”

  3. I am very familiar with Jefferson County, Florida, having once being a resident of Florida. Howver, Jefferson County has a high Black population, regardless of the prison population.

    This county usually votes Democratic in Presidential and many other statewide races due to this.

    If the Court rule that the inmates have constitutional rights to vote in the county commissioner races, they wlll most likely win one if not two of them. Will be interesting to see how the Courts rule.

  4. You kind of have to empathize. It is the problem of how to account “temporary residents” (which would include college students and personnel at military bases as well as those incarcerated in prisons). Personally I believe they should be census accounted at their permanent/home residence. Foe example: it is really not fair for the actual residents of a small town to be “outvotable” by temporary deniznes such as college students.

  5. First, I don’t think convicted inmates should have the right to vote. They lost that right (at least temporarily) when they committed the crime. College students should be taught to practice civics by voting absentee from the home town where they lived before enrolling at college. Military personal have to do this, why not college students?

  6. A person is or is NOT a resident in a precinct.

    Every body is a temporary resident somewhere.

    Any durational requirements for being an Elector still in force ??? —

    or only some deadline date before an Election ???

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