proportional representation

Congressional Super-Districts

What is wrong with the way citizens are represented in the House of Representatives?

The number of Representatives each state gets in Congress is based on the state’s relative population size.  And for each congressman to be elected, there is one geographical district that the House member represents.  Each district elects one legislator in a winner-take-all election every two years.

That means that if every district were to have 60% of its population voting for Party A, then all Representatives from that state will be from Party A.  The 40% from Party B would have no representation at all.  This system often leads to one party drawing the district lines for partisan benefit, and it also leads to fiercely partisan behavior in Congress in which the people’s will is not exercised. 

Remember, this system allows 51% of the people to gain 100% representation.

What we need to proportional representation.

What is a super-district?

A constitutional way to change our system to one of proportional representation is to get rid of all those winner-take-all congressional districts, and instead form fewer, larger districts that each elect multiple legislators to Congress.  For example, New Jersey, which currently has 12 districts for its 12 Representatives, might have 4 large districts, each one sending 3 Representatives to Congress.  The three top vote-getters in a ranked-choice election all get elected.

Why is this better?

Congressional elections would become meaningful instead of the foregone conclusions that are the vast majority of House elections.  The minority party (Republicans in Massachusetts or Democrats in Kansas) and 3rd Party candidates and Independents would have a chance to gain enough of the vote to win a seat in Congress.

This would mean that Congress would more accurately represent the makeup of the American population, and hyper-partisanship would be minimized.  It also means that gerrymandering would no longer be an issue, since super-districts are so large and include such diverse communities.  A super-district might encompass both a city and farmland.

How would it work?

Districts would be drawn by a citizen-run, independent, non-partisan redistricting commission.

Voters would be able to vote for multiple candidates, ranking them in order of preference.  So if a district elects three members, there might be 3 Democrats, 3 Republicans, plus 3rd party and Independent candidates on the ballot.  There might also be different factions of the major parties represented by different candidates, allowing for more nuance in voter preferences.

Who has the power to change our voting system?

In order for super-district, proportional voting to become enacted, Congress must first repeal The 1967 Single-Member District Mandate, which prevents a congressional district from having multiple representatives.

How we vote is determined at the state level, so this is a state-by-state battle to convince those in power to change from a Single-Member-District system to a Multiple-Member-District system (again, once the federal mandate has been repealed).

You should contact your Congressman and Senators to advocate for repeal of the Single-Member District Mandate.