Scott Tibbs
Printed in the USA Today, 01-08-01

Back to opinion page.

Add Congressmen

To the Editor:

The loss of a Congressional seat by Indiana will certainly lead to bitter partisan wrangling in on how to draw nine districts out of ten, and the redistricting battle could easily wind up in court. Other states, including New York, Ohio and Illinois, will face similar problems. But one possible solution to resolve this impending problem in Indiana and other states is not being addressed. I believe it is time to seriously consider increasing the number of members of Congress.

This isn't just because Indiana will have less representation in Washington D.C. This is an issue of allowing the people of America to have more of a voice in how their government is run. The Indianapolis Star reported that each of Indiana's nine Congresspersons will represent about 100,000 more people, diluting the voice of the people.

As our population increases and the number of Congresspersons stay the same, the voice of the individual voter becomes less and less important. The U.S. House of representatives has 435 members. In a nation of over 280 million, The average member of Congress represents over 645,000 people. Increasing the maximum number of House members would increase the voice each individual voter has. An increase may also increase voter turnout, because each vote will matter much more with each House member representing fewer voters.

This is the right thing to do, for practical as well as philosophical reasons. It's time to get it done.