Tuesday, November 15, 2016

You want an impossible to actually pass idea for electoral reform, I got an impossible to actually pass idea for electoral reform!

Since the election, a bunch of friends have mused about various electoral reforms, like abolishing the electoral college (a good idea, but I doubt it will happen) and compulsory voting like they have in Australia (ditto). One reform that is just as unlikely to happen but that no one is talking about because I just thought of it myself is this:

Instead of using population as determined by the census to apportion Congressional representation, why not use voter turnout. The more people who vote in a state, the more representatives in Congress they get. One big effect that would have is it would undermine the motivation for voter suppression. If a state makes it harder for its citizens to vote, it may end up costing itself seats in Congress, which also reduce the states electoral vote. On the other hand, people not eligible to vote (children, non-citizens, etc) would be completely unrepresented (currently, the number of Congress-critters a state gets is based on the number of humans, whether or not they can vote), but it would motivate the powers-that-be in a state to be on the side of getting all its eligible voters to the polls.

Of course, like all the other electoral reforms there are clear winners and losers, which makes it effectively impossible to ever enact. The current Republican party would have zero incentive to sign on to that kind of reform, and because the role of the census is enshrined in the constitution, it would take a constitutional amendment to pass, making it that much harder and unlikely.

Still, if you ever hear anyone floating a proposal like this, remember, you heard it here first.