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.