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The principle’s one person one vote, remember?

Jennifer Elrod
Wednesday November 21, 2001


Your front page story about the petition drive by Citizens for Fair Representation (CFR) does not tell the whole story of why this effort was so successful. In reporting on CFR’s press conference, the Daily Planet quoted Councilmember Kriss Worthington as saying “Unless I missed something, I didn’t notice anything that was visionary or progressive in their rhetoric.” Here’s what I say: Yes, Mr. Worthington, you did miss something. The concept you missed is the progressive notion that as citizens of a democracy, it’s one person, one vote. The Framers missed it, too, when they wrote that Blacks counted as three-fifths of a person as they drafted the document that is the cornerstone of our country’s system of government, the U.S. Constitution.  

But the 15th Amendment to the Constitution remedied that terrible injustice and created the rule of one person, one vote. And, it’s been the law since 1870. So, Mr. Worthington, you and the other four members of the Council failed to notice that a lot of citizens of Berkeley (more than 8,000) were not going to sit still for a redistricting plan that subverted this key democratic principle by denying the people in District 8 the right of an equal vote. Your redistricting plan gave the voters of District 8 only two-thirds of a vote per person while providing the rest of the districts with one vote per person, including the five districts which you and the other four councilmembers represent. So, yes, Mr. Worthington, you did miss something, you missed the central point of a democracy ... all citizen-voters are entitled to one person, one vote. And, we voters in Berkeley aren’t going to allow a redistricting plan that denies anyone the right of one person, one vote ... no matter which district we live in.  


Jennifer Elrod