"ALL CAPS IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY IS NO VICE."

Friday, December 02, 2005

DECENNIAL RE-APPORTIONMENT AND THE CENSUS

POLIBLOGGER posted on an article by FRUITS AND VOTES. F&V suggested we expand the House of Representatives and make it more representative and responsive and districts more equal in population size by using "THE WYOMING RULE": Under the ‘Wyoming Rule,’ the standard Representative-to-population ratio would be that of the smallest entitled unit–i.e. currently Wyoming. (Poliblogger rans the numbers.) I AGREE: we need MORE Reps. But maybe not that many. Here're my thoughts:
(1) The US CENSUS was specifically designed to allow for the ORDERLY EXPANSION of the House so that districts would be equal in size, and the number of districts would expand as the population expanded.

(2) The problem is that since 1920, the number of districts has been frozen at 435. This was done by an ACT OF CONGRESS; it can be undone by an ACT OF CONGRESS, too. It doesn’t require a constitutional amendment.

(3) Since 1920, every decennial census has led MERELY TO RE-APPORTIONMENT: changes/shifts of Reps withing the 435. Some states get more Representatives other states get theirs reduced. Sometimes a state which has grown in population may have their number or Reps reduced because all states must have at least one Rep.

(4) The total number of Reps in the House could be and should be expanded - if not by the "Wyoming Plan" how about just increasing the number od reps in the House to a NICE ROUND NUMBER: 500 - by adding an additional 65 seats. (I think that 500 has a nice ring to it - especially for a nation of 50 states!) These could be/would be apportioned by population. Every ten years we dicide the population by 500 and distribute the seats accordingly.

(5) Average district size would be each smaller - and more representative, AS THE FOUNDERS ORIGINALLY PLANNED. More Reps would mean fewer committee assignments for each Rep and more constituent time. (Also, the advent and pervasiveness of hi-tech communications makes the management of a larger House less encumbering than in 1920, or since 1920. In fact, MANY national and state legislatures all over the world have many more mebers than we do and are larger than a mere 435. If they can mange it, then so can we.)

(6) As these 65 NEW SEATS would ALL BE OPEN SEATS, they’d be VERY competitive races at a time when most seats are NOT COMPETITIVE. That’s a good thing too. This would be A NEW BIRTH OF REPRESENTATION, which would NOT make government bigger, but make it MORE RESPONSIVE AND MORE REPRESENTATIVE.

ALSO: (7) This would change the ELECTORAL COLLEGE - making it even more reflective of the population.
I DARE A BRAVE CONGRESSMAN TO INTRODUCE THIS. It should get BI-PARTISAN SUPPORT, becasue open seats are VERY COMPETITIVE, and the GOP is VERY COMPETITIVE in the CITIES AND COUNTIES which have had the most growth.

22 comments:

Matthew said...

I would gladly settle for 500 as a first step, but even that would be pretty small for the US population.

Check out my graph, which compares the US to 28 other democracies, and also shows the US trend over time. The latter trend line shows the extent to which we used to allow House size to keep up with population, but have flatlined for about 80 years.

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