What does “substantially” equal mean?

The standard for reapportionment of congressional districts is that such districts must be equal in population “as nearly practicable,” with the phrase “as nearly as is practicable” defined to mean “a good faith effort to achieve precise mathematical equality.” However, for local redistricting plans, some divergence from the equal population rule is constitutionally permissible if the disparity is caused by legitimate considerations incidental to the effectuation of a rational state policy. Relatively minor deviations from mathematical equality in state or local electoral districts are constitutionally permissible as long as there is “substantial equality” in population between districts. While there is no absolute bright line rule regarding the permissible amount of population deviation, a total deviation below 10% presumably meets the “substantial equality” standard. The total deviation is measured between the highest population district and the lowest population district.

Show All Answers

1. What is redistricting?
2. What does “substantially” equal mean?
3. What is a community of interest?
4. What is the Voting Rights Act?
5. What is “cracking” and “packing”?