Monday, December 19, 2016

Fixing the Electoral College

Every four years the American public rediscovers the electoral college, and there are many calls for reform that never happen. Most of those laws require getting the legislatures of the many states to each act in cooperation with each other, or a constitutional amendment. But there is a much easier way to repair the problem of the electoral college, and it does not require a constitutional amendment.

It also has many other benefits above and beyond the electoral college.

The number of electors is determined by adding the number of Representatives to the number of Senators. Currently there are 435 voting members of the U. S. House of Representatives, and it has been that way for decades. There is no reason, in the constitution, for it to be that way. The only limiting factor mentioned in the constitution is in Article One, Section Two, Clause Three, which states "The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative".

Currently each Representative represents, on average, 700,000 people. If the number of Representatives were doubled, the apportionment would not come near the constitutional limit. If the Representatives were increased by a factor of 10 that would bring the representation more in line with what was intended with the constitution and still not risk violating the constitutional limit.

Given the current apportionment, California has 55 electors representing 677,000 people per elector while Wyoming has 3 electors representing 188,000 people, rounded to the nearest thousand.

Reapportioning so that there is one Representative per 70,000 people results in 4,465 Representatives. This leads to 4,567 electors, including the District of Columbia. This leads to California having approximately 70,000 people per elector while Wyoming has 56,000 people per elector, a far smaller disparity than currently exists.

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