Alternative Ways of Voting

The current districting scheme in Texas is such that we have more Democratic members in the US House of Representatives than we do Republicans. Clearly, though, Texas is a Republican state. This demonstrates that our elected officials are not actually representative of us.

There are many other voting systems that produce an outcome more proportional to the views of the voters. I suggest we implement one right away. My favorite is cumulative voting, but there are many good systems.

Let’s consider the impact a more representative, hypothetical voting system could have on Houston. It’s represented by no less than eight Congressional districts. Each district selects a single representative. This opens Houston up to gerrymandering.

What you could do instead is make Houston one big district with eight representatives. All Houston candidates would run against each other, competing for the eight seats. Each voter gets eight votes, to be cast as they see fit (all 8 votes for one candidate, one vote each for 8 candidates, etc). Then the eight candidates who received the most votes would be elected.

Of the registered voters in Houston, about 43% vote Democrat and 57% vote Republican. (Data is here). Yet the 8 Congressional districts in Houston are split evenly among Democratic and Republican representatives. Implementing a more representative voting system in Houston would probably shift the mix to 3 Democrats and 5 Republicans, which is clearly more representative of Houston voters.

By creating larger districts (say, one each for Houston, Austin, San Antonio, D/FW, one for north central Texas excluding D/FW, etc) but using a more complicated voting system, you hypothetically maintain the close voter-representative connection, continue to fairly represent various localities, and vastly reduce the potential for gerrymandering. I believe it’s the way to go.

You also get the side benefit of probably reducing the number of elected Democrats!

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