Small congressional districts virtually eliminate gerrymandering.

Huge congressional districts prevent our
House of Representatives from being a true representation of the American people.

Huge congressional districts prevent our
House of Representatives from being a true representation of the American people.

Communities of interest that are subsumed into massive electoral districts are effectively disenfranchised, thereby preventing diversity and faithful representation in the House.

Eliminate gerrymandering to achieve true representation

Gerrymandering is the corrupt practice used by politicians and political parties to establish safe seats by manipulating the shape of congressional districts. The twisted and contorted shapes of many these districts, like the ones below, are often intended to predetermine the outcome of elections.

Though the power of political interests to shape congressional districts is an obvious problem, far less obvious is that massive districts are required to enable such extensive gerrymandering. And we do have massive districts: The average U.S. congressional district has approximately 760,000 people and that number grows every year (because the size of the House has long been arbitrarily fixed at 435 Representatives). And the larger the district, the more easily it can be gerrymandered.

Making matters worse, these huge districts are inevitably quite heterogeneous, effectively disenfranchising those voters who are not represented by their district’s majority, or perhaps even by its plurality.

In contrast, districts of 30,000 to 50,000 inhabitants (as was proposed by the first Congress) would be nearly impossible to gerrymander to any significant extent, especially since it wouldn’t be possible to extend district boundaries across great distances to include certain voting blocks while excluding others. In addition, small districts are inherently more compact and would therefore allow many more communities with shared interests and values to have their own voice in the House.

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  • 1
    As a result of the 2020 population census, the national average district size will be equal to the total population of the 50 states (331,108,434) divided by 435.
  • 2
    These districts, which resulted from the 23rd apportionment as derived from the 2010 population census, were ruled unconstitutional in 2016, and the lines were subsequently redrawn to make the districts more compact. However, the 2016 district map then spurred another round of litigation based on claims of unconstitutional political gerrymandering. This case (Rucho v Common Cause) eventually led to the Supreme Court ruling that partisan gerrymandering claims are not suitable for the courts to decide on because they present a political question that is outside the scope of the federal courts.
  • 3
    Though the population sizes of congressional districts are nearly identical intrastate, the vary greatly from state to state, which is an egregious violation of the constitutional principle of one person, one vote.
  • 4
    Rucho v. Common Cause.
  • 5
  • 6
    The example of 50,000 is used throughout Thirty-Thousand.org because that was the maximum district size proposed as the very first amendment to the Constitution, as explained in Section 1 of this website.
  • 7
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  • 10
    Based on data provided by ElectionProject.org: “2020 November General Election” spreadsheet.
  • 11
    Based on data provided by ElectionProject.org: “2018 November General Election” spreadsheet.
  • 12
    Ipsos.com: “Why don’t people vote?