the 34th District, 38 percent are noncitizens. In Florida's 21st Congressional District, 28 percent of residents are noncitizens.
Noncitizens, hopefully, are nonvoters. But their very presence gives enormous weight to the
legitimate voters in those districts.
The Constitution does not require including noncitizens in the reapportionment count. In 1979 and 1988, the courts refused to hear a challenge to the practice of including illegal aliens in the census count for purposes of reapportionment.
Congress can define who meets the test of residency for the census count, and what procedures are used to do the counting. The only question is whether Congress has the will to make the needed changes.
The winners in this distortion are neither the illegal aliens nor noncitizens, but the citizen voters in the districts that have large alien and noncitizen populations. The process makes the votes of some Americans count for much more than the votes of other Americans in districts where almost everyone is a citizen.
Reynolds v. Sims warned that "any alleged infringement of the right of citizens to vote must be carefully and meticulously scrutinized" even though this means "entering into political thickets and mathematical quagmires." Congress ought to address this issue long before the 2004 elections.
The recent California recall election didn't inflict us with the predicted post-election court challenges because, fortunately, the poll results were decisive. However, when we look at the red and blue map of the 2000 presidential election, we must assume that the 2004 election will be close, with the potential of producing legal wrangling.
In addition to dealing with the equal protection problems of reapportionment, Congress should make other changes to improve the integrity of the election process. Among these changes should be requiring proof of citizenship to vote and banning foreign language ballots (because the law requires that immigrants be able to speak English in order to become a naturalized citizen).
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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