Feel you need better representation in Congress? If our nation didn’t stray from the U.S. Constitution there would be 10,595 members of the U.S. House of Representatives today and all citizens would enjoy the blessings of proportional representation.1
Notice how the number of representatives matched the population growth until 1913:
Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states, “The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand…”2
In 1793, Americans were proportionally represented by 105 representatives. Given today’s population of 317,850,134, there should be 10,595 representatives!
This statement on Congress’s website says, “The number of voting representatives in the House is fixed by law at no more than 435, proportionally representing the population of the 50 states.” That is partially true—there is a proportional ratio but since 19133 the ratio of citizens to Congressmen decreases every time the population increases by 30,000.
Utah with its current population of 3.85 million should have 95 representatives!
Although not everyone could talk on the floor and we may need a larger hall, representatives could organize into regions with captains of thousands, captains of hundreds or whatever size reason dictates. The Senate would continue to bridle the passions of the House.
How wise were the framers of the original U.S. Constitution! How sad their plan was hijacked. Beginning here in the State of Utah and spreading to our fellow citizens, let us declare that proportional representation is essential by re-establishing it first here.
Let’s thank Congressman Jason Chaffetz for his six years of public service and release him so he can serve his country in another capacity. Vote Robert Stevens for Congress. Let me show you what I can do.
1James Madison defended proportional representation in The Federalist Papers : No. 58.. He wrote “Within every successive term of ten years a census of inhabitants is to be repeated. The unequivocal objects of these regulations are, first, to readjust, from time to time, the apportionment of representatives to the number of inhabitants, under the single exception that each State shall have one representative at least; secondly, to augment the number of representatives at the same periods, under the sole limitation that the whole number shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand inhabitants.”
More on Proportional Representation
- The number of representatives with full voting rights is 435, a number set by Public Law 62-5 on August 8, 1911, and in effect since 1913. The number of representatives per state is proportionate to population.
- “Congress has the power to regulate the size of the House of Representatives, and the size of the House has varied through the years in response to the admission of new states, reapportionment following a census, and the Civil War.” — Galloway, George B.; Sidney Wise (1976). History of the House of Representatives. Crowell. ISBN 0-690-01101-6.
- I am no longer perplexed by this Mormon scripture regarding the U.S. Constitution “And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.” The U.S. Constitution was a perfectly working machine. Adding or subtracting to its core would be like filling arteries with cholesterol or severing one’s aorta. See also D&C 101:77.
- The 1911 House reapportionment: On this date, President William H. Taft signed legislation increasing the membership of the House from 391 to 433
- Congress has capped the number of Representatives at 435 since the Apportionment Act of 1911 except for a temporary increase to 437 during the admission of Hawaii and Alaska as states in 1959. As a result, over the last century, congressional districts have more than tripled in size—from an average of roughly 212,000 inhabitants after the 1910 Census to about 710,000 inhabitants following the 2010 Census. Each state’s congressional delegation changes as a result of population shifts, with states either gaining or losing seats based on population. While the number of House Members for each state is determined according to a statistical formula in federal law, each state is then responsible for designing the shape of its districts so long as it accords with various provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which seeks to protect racial minorities’ voting and representation rights.
- The Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929
Feedback and Answers
Q. My initial take on the increase in representatives was that it wouldn’t be an acceptable solution simply due to the logistical nightmare it would create. Plus, most Utahns’ are small-government, so this may fly in the face of that.
A. An additional 94 advisory members of the U.S. House of Representatives here in Utah would cost about $13.16 million a year, given a $100k average salary and $40k overhead.
Experience whispers to me that the benefits from proper representation as defined in the original U.S. Constitution, which most Utah citizens believe was divinely inspired, is akin to unforeseen blessings from obedience to any God-given law whether it be tithing, charity or living the law of chastity.
What then could those benefits be? A more informed public? Greater accountability? Wise spending of public funds? Fewer dollars sent to higher and less efficient levels of government? More freedom? More liberty? If the correct answer is all of the above then reasons suggests the return on investment will be enormous.