Federalist Style Paper #3
Apportionment is the means of trying to equally apportion our congressional seats among the very different United States of America. Apportionment is not always easy to achieve in being fair. Apportionment is the mathematical application to our democracy.
In a federalist government, there are a group of states that all have their own governments that are inferior to a federal government, a coalition of all of the states in the federation. The federal government has a limited number of seats that each state has represented. This system favors big states with large populations over small states with smaller populations. In order to counteract this, the Constitution of The United States has many compromises such as the New Jersey Plan and the Connecticut Compromise in order to balance the power and give smaller states equal representation. Many people that argue that smaller states are disregarded wish that the states had more seats in the house of representatives. Although, seats in the lower chamber are not based on the physical size of the state and instead given seats based on population.
In any society, it is impossible to achieve 100% fairness. I think that seats are apportioned as fair as they can be right now. If America were to change the way that representatives were apportioned, larger states would somewhat be drowned out. In order to make up for less populous states such as Wyoming only having one at-large representative, Congress could increase its number of total representatives and states would have a smaller remainder in apportionment formulas and would have more representatives. By increasing the number of seats in Congress, this would also allow for territories to have voting representation in Congress.
Territories of the United States include Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, and many others. Despite not being required to pay federal income taxes, many of these territories still end up paying many of the same federal taxes that mainland Americans pay such as payroll taxes, social security taxes, business taxes, gift taxes, estate taxes, etc. Because they pay these taxes, should they not receive voting rights and proper representation? Many of these places could benefit from representation in Congress and with elections that will ultimately affect them as well. If these policies (i.e. trade, tariffs, foreign policy, etc.) are affecting these people, they should be able to have a say. This is a basic principle that the United States was founded on and has been a pillar of the American way of life.
While apportionment of representatives may never be able to be fully fair, there are some steps that can be taken to make it as close to fair as possible. By giving all groups representation, we are taking steps toward making our apportionment as fair as possible.