Fun point. We have had 435 Representatives in the house since 1911 (with a 4 year exception when it went to 437). Our Founding Fathers wanted it locked in at 50k to 60k per Representative, we now have an average of 800k (source I am fact checking them now, however even if those particular facts aren’t true, their idea of more Representatives is a good one). NOTE: All that follows is a work in progress…I may modify it as I go along and further refine my ideas.
If we limited to the 50k our Founding Fathers originally wanted the size difference between districts would be less than 5%. There would be 6,000 members of the House and would far better represent their local populace. We could, if cost was a huge concern, limit it to one member for each 100k, this still results in 3,000 (or nearly anything up to say one rep for each 300k… no more than 500k).
With modern technology there is no need to have every member of the House in the building in DC… as a matter of fact, from a security point it is better, and there is nothing in the Constitution that would stop us from using modern technology to do it. And by leaving them in their home districts we could cut the expense of having them all in Washington. For direct representation in DC, if we wanted to continue to house 435 people in the the Capital itself, then each state’s legislative body and governor would decide who went to DC. Who went wouldn’t matter since being in the Capital itself doesn’t increase their voting power. If they wanted they could rotate so all of them get a chance, but to reduce costs perhaps best to leave it set. I would also suggest a pay cut to help with the expense of so many Reps, especially since most will be in their home district. At the very least a big cut to the size and costs of their staff and other expenses.
This does increase the difficulty of getting things done, since now you have far more people to sell on a plan, but in the end we end up with less pork, less ear marks and a government that is forced to be more focused on actual governance and more bills would become far simpler in order to get them passed.
Such a plan would greatly reduce Gerrymandering. It could be reduced further by devising a GIS based program to draw district lines without regard to politics… as a matter of fact, this should be done even if we stay with the 435 number we have now. That alone would improve representation.
We also need to remove the first past the post voting method in the US for all federal offices… I would say for state level offices as well. There are two primary alternatives, the Alternative Vote and the Single Transfer Vote. I would say for the House, use the Alternative Vote, for the Senate and President use STV. On the election form they are more or less the same, it is how they are counted that changes. Continue reading 435 Isn’t Enough