Jump to content

The Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929: Gerrymandering/third parties/repeal


Ten oz
 Share

Recommended Posts

"Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, fixing the number of Representatives at 435. The U.S. Constitution called for at least one Representative per state and that no more than one for every 30,000 persons."  Here

The 1911 House Reappointment Act increased "membership of the House from 391 to 433, with provisions to add two more Members when New Mexico and Arizona became states." Here

The 1911 House Reappointment Act was the last time the number of House members has been expanded. At that time there was roughly a House Representative per 200k citizens. The Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929 capped the number of House representatives at the size outline in by the 1911 Act, 435 members. Today the number of citizens is about 750k per House representative with the largest District being nearly 900k and the smallest being 120k. Numbers I do not think Politicians imagined back in 1929 or if they did I imagine they assumed a new Apportionment Act would be passed to address the growth.

What has been the impact on limiting House members and should Congress consider a repeal? I think it enabled more aggressive gerrymandering, fed partisanship, limited independent Candidates, and diminish the strength of the House of Representatives. I am curious what impacts (pro or con) members think followed the Act, whether or not it should be repealed, and if repealed what should replace it.

I vaguely recall a conversation about this here a couple years. I don't remember if it had its own thread. So I apologizes if this is a redundant thread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think the number of people represented is a direct issue.   That is, I don;t think it matters if a district is 750k or 120 k as long as they are all the same population.  But-- the disparity in district populations and the gerrymandering are issues.  I would love to see some simple-minded criterion for districts that would minimize gerrymandering, but I'm not sure what it should be.  "All districts shall consist of a single rectangle of sufficient size to encompass x people?"  I suspect this might be like th famous problem of how to draw a map in different colors without having two adjacent areas the same color.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, swansont said:

And that was about the time we crossed from being more rural to more urban. 750k per rep vs 120k is a large imbalance in representation 

I think it gives national parties greater influence. Out of 435 seat only about 80 are considered competitive. This forces those interested in running to conform to which ever major party owns their region's seats. If one were born and raised in Idaho and has ambitions of representing their state they would just about have to become Republican. Both House Reps and Senators are Republicans and no one is winning one of those seats without the endorsement of the Republican party. The Republican primaries for those seats are good as the actual election. Yet Ada County ,capital region of Idaho and the most populated county (480k), isn't partisan as the State. Trump won Idaho by 32 points but  only won Ada County by 8 points. Boise has a Democrat as Mayor. There are hundreds of thousands on people in Idaho who are open and or want more diverse representation but won't get it. Candidates in ID will continue pandering to the national party. Same applies the opposite way in Democratic controlled regions.

It is ironic to me because those point of allowing States control over their own districting and to have House members in the first place was to enforce an amount of sovereignty. Give States the independence to self govern. The opposite has happened. Huge portions of the map are under national party rule. I feel like increasing the number of seats and lowering the constituent to Rep. ratio would help but am not entirely sure.

13 hours ago, OldChemE said:

I don't think the number of people represented is a direct issue.   That is, I don;t think it matters if a district is 750k or 120 k as long as they are all the same population.  But-- the disparity in district populations and the gerrymandering are issues.  I would love to see some simple-minded criterion for districts that would minimize gerrymandering, but I'm not sure what it should be.  "All districts shall consist of a single rectangle of sufficient size to encompass x people?"  I suspect this might be like th famous problem of how to draw a map in different colors without having two adjacent areas the same color.

"Two-thirds of our population lives in the top 100 metropolitan areas, and 84 percent of Americans live in all 363 metros. Being in a metro means being tied to someplace else; the Census Bureau defines metropolitan areas as a city of 50,000 or more, plus the adjacent counties that have close social and economic ties to the urban core. " Here

There are only 15 cities in the U.S. with at least 750k people. Metro areas include associated cities and town. There are 74 Metros in the nation with at least 750k people. The majority of the population lives in a metro region but not necessarily in an individual location with at least 750k people. So on the surface the ratio doesn't seem that bad. Perhaps in places like NYC and the San Francisco Bay Area where Reps have small geographical areas do to population density it works well. What about States that only have a single Rep like AK, MT, ND, SD, and WY. Surely the needs of people in a fairly well populated city like Anchorage AK (400k) are different than that more isolated populations in AK like Nome (4k)? Along those lines there are several states that do not contain a single metro area with at least 750k. Meaning all those regions House reps are responsible for numerous independent localities. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally think any legistation laid down more than 50 year's ago, is vulnerable to deliberate misinterpretation. 

It was written for that moment in time and, however well intentioned or cleverly designed, every generation should revisit with the intention of an update.

The modern way to eliminate gerrymandering, I think is proportional representation; although, no doubt a future (50

+ years from now) Trump would have a go. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

I personally think any legistation laid down more than 50 year's ago, is vulnerable to deliberate misinterpretation. 

It was written for that moment in time and, however well intentioned or cleverly designed, every generation should revisit with the intention of an update.

...

At the risk of being called out for going off topic, I have the same opinion with the American's Second Amendment from over 200 years ago.

Times, they are a changin'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

I personally think any legistation laid down more than 50 year's ago, is vulnerable to deliberate misinterpretation. 

It was written for that moment in time and, however well intentioned or cleverly designed, every generation should revisit with the intention of an update.

The modern way to eliminate gerrymandering, I think is proportional representation; although, no doubt a future (50

+ years from now) Trump would have a go. 

To your point the 19th amendment which gave Women the right was passed in 1919. That was several years after The 1911 House Reappointment Act which was used as the ceiling for House members. Also 1911 was 5 decades before the Voting rights act was passed. A lot has changed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Ten oz said:

To your point the 19th amendment which gave Women the right was passed in 1919. That was several years after The 1911 House Reappointment Act which was used as the ceiling for House members. Also 1911 was 5 decades before the Voting rights act was passed. A lot has changed.

I said the legislation should be revisited, not necessarily changed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Dord said:

At the risk of being called out for going off topic, I have the same opinion with the American's Second Amendment from over 200 years ago.

Times, they are a changin'

This doesn't have to be off topic. The Majority of people in the nation support gun reform, Here. However it continues not to happen. Do you feel there could be a connection between the way Representation has been proportioned and the lack of responsiveness to what people broadly support?

3 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

I said the legislation should be revisited, not necessarily changed.

I pointed out that much has changed. I didn't say you specifically advocated for change

Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, Ten oz said:

I pointed out that much has changed. I didn't say you specifically advocated for change

Let's not talk past each other, as it seems we largely agree.

For me, any democracy that limits one's vote is just pretending to be a democracy. 

Edited by dimreepr
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Including age, I think anyone capable of puting a cross in a box should be allowed to vote (even by post); I can't imagine the noise from a 5yo voting, saying eeny meeny, will change much, but the savvy youth in fear of there future, just might...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.