Better ways to reapportion Congress

A state’s apportionment in the House of Representatives is determined by the Constitution, Article I, Section 2:

Representatives … shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons

Maybe there’s a better way to apportion representatives? (Any change would require changing the Constitution, but let’s ignore that difficulty in this thread.)

Here is my suggestion. Apportionment would be by the total number of voters in the previous three presidential elections. Could be longer, could be shorter; I think two is too short because many presidents serve for two terms, and four seems way too long.

So, instead of the Census used to reapportion (could still be used for other purposes), the total number of people who voted in the previous three presidential election would be used. I foresee multiple effects.

  1. States with higher voter turnouts would get more representatives.
  2. States with more voter suppression would get less.
  3. States with more unnationalized immigrants would get less.
  4. States with more underage people would get less.

I think effects 1 and 2 are net benefits. State governments need strong encouragement to increase turnout and reduce suppression. Some states return to the “you count for representation, but not for voting” paradigm is extremely anti-democratic, like the old three-fifths compromise.

Point 3 would have a short-term impact on states with large immigrant populations, but the states would have a strong incentive to get them naturalized and reduce the long-term impact. Likewise, point 4 is self correcting, as they age up to voting age.

By the way, I worked things out as if the House were reapportioned following the 2016 presidential election.

Anyone else have ideas for improving Congressional apportionment?

Do states have control over naturalization, or is that the federal government? It the feds control it, that would give incentive to speed up or slow down naturalizations in certain states.

Your system would also encourage outside-influenced voter suppression, something that already happens via misinformation and would now be further incentivized.

Voter fraud (which is currently not an issue) would suddenly have huge payoffs in safe states - if nobody is going to question California going blue, maybe they won’t question a few million extra blue votes.

Before we can come up with something “better”, we need to know what the OP thinks is wrong with the current system. Then design policies to address those shortcomings, whatever they are.

I certainly have my opinions on how apportionment (and districting) are badly broken.

But I’d like to know which problems the OP sees. His proposal seems to be nothing more than “Pull an idea out of a silly hat and use it to generate a whole new bunch of strange side effects in addition to the existing ones.” IOW, it’s a classic “solution in search of a problem.” And not a even a good solution at that.

Not to speak for the OP but we do indeed have apportionment problems. Partly because the House isn’t big enough to allow more equal representation. A simple fix like using the Wyoming Rule to determine the number of congresspeople would be a step in the right direction.

First past the post voting and gerrymandered districts are also major obstacles to providing the best representation we can achieve. Rep. Don Beyer’s Fair Representation Act takes aim at both of those problems and I hope it catches on.

The voting age population accounts for 247 million citizens. You would disenfranchise more than 82 million citizens who have a right to be represented.

The federal government has control over immigration, so that could be a problem and may already be a problem. But the states will have an incentive to make it easier, as far as they can.

Good points, but in opposite directions. I think we have protection against ballot-box stuffing; maybe it’s not sufficient and should be improved. And states will be highly incentivized to counter voter suppression of any sort, unlike the current situation.

I thought I described my thoughts here:

Ask me something more specific if you wish.

As I said:


I’ve brought this up before.

True. And those same citizens cannot vote or drink alcohol and are restricted in many other ways.

So they become second class citizens. Shall we deny them due process and other constitutional rights as well?

They continue to be second class citizens.

So by your approach, your 17-year old gets busted for a criminal act. Since they are a second class citizen without due process, you never see them again.

That is your suggestion, not mine.

How many members would the House of Representatives have if the constitutional had not been amended to have the House have the current numper of reps?

The Constitution was never amended to fix the current number of representatives. The size of the House has always been changed by ordinary legislation and it could be changed again by ordinary legislation.

This is actually already required by the Constitution.* It has just never been enforced, even it when it was blindingly obvious that there were states suppressing the majority of their lawful voters.

*Section 2 of the 14th Amendment:

Criteria 1,3 and 4 appear to be objectively measured criteria.

Criteria 2 appears to be a subjectively measured criteria…which would be fraught with litigation, judiciary involvement in the political process. No thanks.