Jennifer Karr

Document Type



American Founders worked tirelessly to end the lack of representation colonists had faced under British rule. The Constitution requires that each state be apportioned a proportional number of representatives in the House of Representatives. Throughout the first 120 years of the nation’s history, the size of the House increased in proportion to population. Though population continued to grow exponentially, the Apportionment Act of 1911 limited the House to 435 representatives. One hundred years later, the population has increased by nearly 220 million, but the number of representatives in the House remains stunted at 435. This mismatched growth and stiltedness results in greatly disparate representation in the federal government between residents of neighboring states, as well as inaccurate outcomes in federal elections. This Note argues that the Founders’ goal of proportionality in representation should be striven for in four ways. First, repealing the limit on representatives in the Apportionment Act of 1911 should be accompanied by a new formula for determining the number of representatives apportioned to each state that resembles the formula used in other western countries. Second, we should change the formula for determining how many representatives each state will receive to a method previously used, which lacks all bias. The second two changes I propose are geared towards fairer presidential elections. First, each state should elect to split Electoral College votes in order to better represent the choices of the electorate. Second, the Twelfth Amendment requirement that in the event of no Electoral College winner the vote must go to the House should be repealed. Enacting these changes will result in a better represented electorate, which will more closely resemble the Founders’ vision.