Going from One Representative, One Vote to One Constituent, One Vote.

One Person, one Vote is pretty universal, except when it comes to voting in corporate elections, in which each person’s vote is based on the percentage of the corporation they own. Why don’t we treat elected representatives similarly? Cut the number of districts for representatives in half, and send the top two polling candidates to the legislature, where their vote is worth how ever many people voted for them. Might not work for the US Senate because of the constitution requiring “equal suffrage”, but in that case we give each representative in the Senate a fraction of the state’s vote corresponding to the percentage of vote received (when compared only to the other representative’s share). Would let us just have one Senate election every 6 years in each state too, since they automatically create two Senators.

Perhaps this was once constrained by technology, but it seems like it wouldn’t be an issue at all these days; I suppose it might make the whip’s job counting votes before an official vote harder, but I’m sure our official parliamentary voting system can be designed to handle it. I’m not sure if there’s a good reason to not do things this way other than impracticability. I’d love to hear your opinions though.

I’ve suggested a related idea. Don’t have congressional districts. Let anyone who meets the qualifications announce they want to serve as a Representative in Congress. Then if they get 250,000 eligible voters to sign up with them, they’re elected. There would be no state limits; you could choose any Representative you want. And you’d be able to withdraw your vote whenever you wish and switch it to another Representative. If a Representative fell below the 250,000 limit, they’d lose their seat in Congress.

This would make gerrymandering impossible. Nobody would ever be represented by somebody they didn’t vote for. It would also allow geographically diffuse constituencies to be represented.

So you’d expect most currently-competitive districts to send both an R and a D, one with slightly more power than the other?

Glowacks’s scheme (exactly 2 Representatives from each District) preserves bad aspects of the 2-party system. With 40% Teabag, 25% Greed, 35% Liberals; you’d finish with {65% Tea, 35% Lib}, no Reps for the party of Greed.

Little Nemo’s scheme has the disadvantage that very popular Representatives don’t get extra votes.

Why not combine the two schemes? That is, have each State be a single constituency with its Representatives’ voting power proportional to number of citizens who voted for them.

A candidate who got less than 250,000 votes wouldn’t lose: He could assign those votes to another Representative.

L. Neil Smith (science fiction author) had a system in his North American Confederacy series in which people could choose their representatives at will, and votes by the representatives were weighted by the number of people the representatives represented at the time of the vote.

You’d probably have a lot of minor celebrities mobilizing their fan bases.

I’d have to think on some of these schemes, but I always thought that enumeration should be based on the number of active voters, not just the population. Little Nemo’s scheme, as well as the hybrid, would satisfy that condition.

I do like the idea that you can give or withdraw your support for your representative at any time. Rather than have one person who vaguely represents the interests of something over half of the people who live in your area, you have a person that you have chosen to represent your interests. Someone actually responsible to the voter.

It would be similar to corporate voting, in that, if you are a stockholder, you probably don’t go to the meetings yourself, but rather, assign your shares to be represented by a proxy voter. A representative with 1 million voters behind her would have 1 million votes to cast. A representative with 250k votes would have 250k votes to cast.

If your representative stops representing your interests, you can withdraw your vote and give it to someone who will.

Though, one change I wouldn’t mind seeing would be to make the minimum closer to 30,000 votes, as that was the number of constituents that each representative was to cover when the nation was founded. Might make the capitol into a stadium, but we can handle that. Big thing, though would be that, with only 30,000 people to represent, you can actually get some face time with your rep, as opposed to these days, when you can only get some face time if you are a multimillion dollar contribute to their PAC.

So other people have thought about this? Then why aren’t we doing anything about trying to get this implemented? It seems like the kind of thing that there exists no legitimate argument against, and the only actual argument against it at all seems to be “tradition”. Is it simply a case of people just being apathetic about it? We’re at a time right now where one party has a major structural advantage, and even if they were throw all of their weight against it, wouldn’t that simply drive those on the fence away from them, as they are obviously only doing it to hold on to power and not about letting the people’s votes decide things? I was expecting people to come out of the woodwork to tell me about how terrible my idea was, because I assumed if it been thought about before and not implemented, there would be a very good reason. If there aren’t any actual objections to this I’ll begin trying to get more people thinking about this, but what I really want to see is the counter-arguments for it. The closest thing to one is the whole favoritism of the two-party system. I purposely kept it at two representatives because that’s how you’d get the major parties on board with the plan, since even the party currently disfavored by the system might not want to see a system where there’s the ability for dozens of parties to spring up. It might be slightly less fair than letting there be 3 or 4 or 10 or whatever, or having some other system determine how votes in the legislature are cast, but you have to work within what’s popular.

Assuming that you round things to the nearest tenth of a percent, I don’t see this creating too much of an undue burden on election counters; if they had to get it exactly right, it might be a problem, but so long as it’s close it shouldn’t matter much. I don’t like the idea of withdrawing support for your candidate though, for the same reason that I like the whole idea behind only voting for a third of the Senate at a time - at some level, the legislature works better when shielded from every whim of the populace who voted for them. They can make tough decisions and see things through crises knowing that they have until election time to get the people to understand their actions.

That was intentional. If you allowed a Representative to have as many votes as he could attract followers, there would be a strong danger of a demagogue gathering too much power into a single person’s hand.

If a voter group gets over 500,000 it should split and begin supporting two Representatives rather than giving one Representative two votes.

This all is nice but totally unnecessary.

The system you currently have works OK enough except for one thing, and it’s what (some of) you don’t want to admit is a problem: The votes in Congress are bought. Every single one, or close enough. Eliminate ALL the effects of money on Congress - lobbying isn’t just reformed, ALL lobbying in the whole country becomes a federal crime; corporate contributions to politics also become a federal crime; individual contributions are limited to [40 hours times minimum wage], a week’s pay for the poorest worker, per year. (So if minimum wage is $10, then Richie McMoneypants can only contribute up to $400 to politics this year under his name, and zero through his company or union or other organization because such donations have ceased to exist.) Boom, system is fixed.

I agree that the legislative and regulatory systems are very corrupt. Attempts to improve governance by finagling the voting system aren’t the key to solution. (Though it would be good to reduce some of the most blatant cheating, like gerrymandering and voter suppression.)

Many top politicians understand this and want to address the problem of excess money in politics. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (McCain–Feingold) was passed by both Houses of Congress. Despite the word “Bipartisan” in the Act’s title, the vast majority of support came from Congressional Democrats, but 10 other Republican Senators joined with McCain for a 60-40 vote to invoke cloture on a filibuster in the Senate. On March 27, 2002 the Act was signed into law by George W. Bush. The Act wasn’t a silver bullet, but was widely applauded as a very important step in the right direction.

In 2003 in the case of McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (yes, that Mitch McConnell), the Supreme Court of the United States uphold the constitutionality of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. It was close — the vote was 5-4 — but the moderate Republican Sandra Day O’Connor decided in favor of the people and against rule by money.

By 2007, O’Connor had been replaced with the right-winger Sam Alito. One provision of the Campaign Reform Act was overturned, in a 5-4 vote, by the case Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. In 2008 with Davis v. Federal Election Commission by the exact same 5-4 vote more provisions of the Campaign Reform Act were overturned.

In 2008, a right-wing organization sued for the right to broadcast lies about Hillary Clinton without regard to campaign finance laws. The FEC rejected this, noting that that organization was just a propaganda machine and not a bonafide film-maker. Although it was too late to slander Ms. Clinton for the 2008 election, the right-wing organization (“Citizens United”) sued for the right to slander Ms. Clinton in future elections without regard to campaign finance law. In 2010, by the very same 5-4 majority that had acted in 2007 and 2008, in a case titled Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the remaining major provision of the Campaign Reform Act was gutted.

This is why GOP refusal to seat Justice Garland and the election of a Republican to the White House was such a tragedy.


In my opinion, there’s a second thing wrong with it, though I don’t know how it could be fixed while still maintaining freedom of speech and assembly. I think that the party coordination across races - state, government branch, government level - has turned electoral politics into a game of teams winning or losing rather than of representation of people in a government. The branches of government are no longer checks and balances on one another, the legislators are no longer individuals (with very rare exceptions) but pieces of a giant voting bloc. I think this is terrible for American democracy.

It couldn’t be implemented without amending/limiting/gutting the First Amendment. All that part about the right of the people to petition government for redress of grievances.

The problem with the proposal of the OP is that it is too damn complicated. Voter participation is low enough as it is, even under the system where we get together and vote, and whoever gets more votes than any one else wins and goes off to Congress and decides on legislation. Sending two guys and ‘one gets 54% of a vote and the other gets 41% of a vote and the representative from the fringe loony party gets nothing’ achieves nothing.

Plus, I am from state A and I got 55% of the 10 million votes in my state. You am from state B and got 65% of the three million votes in your state. My vote counts less than yours. This seems to run against the populist idea of the OP.

Adding more moving parts to the system doesn’t make it harder to game it.


First we gotta crank up the Supreme Court to 11. :wink:

Maybe. I do like the idea that folks solicit votes nationwide, and a quarter-million votes (or whatever threshold we set) gets you a seat.

Being able to reassign one’s vote whenever one wants sounds logistically difficult. How do we prevent fraud while making the reassignment of votes practical?

It may be that we could do this with a two-tiered system:

  1. You have an online app that’s as secure as a banking app through which votes can be reassigned or frozen.
  2. County Boards of Elections could have a more secure way to reassign or freeze votes, using IDs.

The “freezing” option would be important for preventing fraud: if you’ve frozen your vote, it can only be reassigned at a county office. The online option would be important for preventing overrun at county offices.

My worry would be the tension between the secret ballot and fraud prevention. The easiest way to correct fraud would be to keep records of votes and to revert votes if there’s the suspicion of fraud (e.g., I’d voted for Paula Abdul, but overnight my vote and that of ten million peers changed to Taylor Swift; the FEC could revert all ten million votes back to whoever we’d previously voted for). Without records of votes, it’d be hard to recover from an attack on the system. With records, votes could be hacked and leaked.

You might want to read up on delegative democracy, a sort of blockchain implementation for voting. I’ll admit I’m a bit fascinated with the idea myself in that I could see it providing much a better representation of citizens’ will, loosen the grip of career politicians and large moneyed interests, and end (or radically transform) the party system.

Thank you for your usual bullshit arguments that completely miss the point. Shall I go paragraph by paragraph?

First: what the fuck? What does the First Amendment have to do with this at all? I take it you’re replaying to the campaign financing stuff, but you failed to use the “reply” button and quote what you were replying to.


First sentence:
The problem the iPhone is that it is too damn complicated. There’s no reason to make something that complicated when you can just use the set you’ve always used that has no electronics and works only by the power from the phone company, so it even works when you have no power. I just don’t see the point to cell phones.

Yes, of course it’s complicated. Complicated things that fix a problem are better than simple things that cause a certain injustice. The idea is to make a very small change in how representatives’ votes are tallied so that people are better represented in the legislature than they are now. Right now it doesn’t matter how many people voted for you, you have the same power, which means things like gerrymanding can cause the representative total to not reflect the voter total. There’s no reason why we can’t get that right these days.

Second Sentence:
My proposed change does absolutely nothing to this dynamic. The people who are voted for go to the legislature. There’s no change.

Third Sentence:
This system would cause the votes in the legislature to better reflect the political desires of the constituents that vote for those legislators. Because there are so many legislature races that are 60-40, a percentage so far from even that there’s little hope the minority party can win, a very large percentage of people have absolutely no say in the legislature at all. Under this system, their representative gets some say, just an amount less than the guy who got 60% of the vote. How is this “nothing”?

Third paragraph:

Ah, I see. You completely missed my point in the paragraph about the US Senate. What I was describing was how to use my system to allocate votes in the one legislature that is required to allocate its voting power by “district” irrespective of population and that requirement is the one thing in the basic law of the land that cannot be amended (theoretically). My system would normally not give equal suffrage to each State in the Senate, so it needs to be modified to be politically feasible for the US Senate.

Please try to read a bit more carefully. No one else made this mistake of assuming the second paragraph of my OP applied to every situation.

Fourth Paragraph:

Yes, it’s not any harder to game. Now instead of trying to set up districts that cause you to be overrepresented in the the legislature, the game is actually about convincing people to vote for you. Surely people will still play this game, and are currently playing this game, and everyone things it’s the best game to play when it comes to deciding who’s in the legislature. So I don’t see what’s wrong with making the system reflect the results of the game that we all want to play.

Well, most of us that aren’t trying to find some way to justify the Republican structural advantage that this system would go a long ways to fix.

glowacks, I think his statement about the First Amendment was in reply to me. AFTER that, he addresses your OP.

And I agree with him, in my post I said up front that I couldn’t think of how what I hoped for could be done, due to the First Amendment.

I agree that what you’re saying is true. But I don’t think this is a problem with a single solution. I think the Buckley decision was wrong and I’d like to see a Constitutional amendment overturning it. But this wouldn’t solve everything wrong with our elections. We also need a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to vote and establishing the principle of one person=one vote. And my proposal was addressed at gerrymandering, which is another whole issue.

The guy who keeps trying to break up California into multiple entities has come up with a new idea: 10,000 members of the state legislature, who would then meet in district caucuses to send representative of themselves to the legislature. It just seems like an unworkable new layer of government.