Vote Dilution

In 1912 Iowa had 11 Districts, and 11 US Representatives in the US Legislature
Plus 2 Senators makes an electoral collage vote count of 13 with a population of ~2.25 million1.

In 2022 Iowa will have 4 Districts, and 4 Reps. An electoral college vote count of 6. And a population of ~3.2 million2.

Do you see the problem?! Just by population growth within Iowa itself your voting power as an Iowan to elect your congressional representatives has been reduced by between 1/3 and 1/2. AND because the rest of the country has grown more than Iowa our representatives voting power within congress has ALSO been reduced by about 2/3. AND because where we live has also shifted “urban” voters influence have diminished even more4!

The power of your vote is diminishing, even more-so if you live in a city! None of this is the fault of minorities, or women voting, it is a result of our representative democracy not adjusting to a growing population a shifting demographic! 435 members in the “peoples house” is way to small! Especially in large states with not so large populations, such as Iowa. It leaves us with districts that are way to large. Overly large districts are very susceptible to favoring rural citizens over urban citizens, gerrymandering, and the influence of big money donors3. and it shifts the compromising balance the electoral college was intended to serve into a tool for minority rule.

Voter suppression is a really real thing, and there should absolutely be federal rules to combat that very undemocratic activity at the state levels, but voter dilution is also very undemocratic, and isn’t being talked about enough. If we can’t get a vote on voter suppression issues – the voting rights act that should have been a top priority for democrats early in Biden’s, but tenure is effectively dead at this point I think – we should at least raise awareness that increasing the size of the house is pretty damn important.

  1. in 1912 only maybe ~750,000 were eligible to vote. Women’s suffrage happened in 1920, and higher percentage of kids back then – population has shifted older since advent of antibiotics etc. If we just assume as many women would have voted as men we could have a voter turnout of double that of the actual number 492,356. so roughly 1 million
  2. of whom maybe 2.5 million are eligible to vote – I had trouble finding this number… and in 2020 less than 1.7 million actually voted
  3. you need a lot more money and time to campaign to so many people spread out in a large district. travel costs go up, obviously, but it also tends to force a reliance on mass media ads
  4. in 1910 census ~30% of Iowa was “urban”. In 2010 it was 64% and probably up a bit more in 2020. The classification of Iowa as a rural state is, both true and misleading.
  5. The senate was meant to be a check on more dense/less agricultural/urban states overriding the less dense/more agricultural/rural states, NOT CONGRESS! and even senate wasn’t intended to favor rural population states as with such a severe distortion as it does today. The founders did not anticipate a few REALLY large states in the west. The size of the senate has grown by less than 4x since while the population grew by almost 100x.

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