John Klar: One person, one vote — one district, one rep

The main reason we have a Census every 10 years, beyond finding out how many toilets everybody has in their household, is to ensure we are all equally represented in terms of population by our elected lawmakers.

District lines need to be adjusted to ensure that as populations change and shift regionally in Vermont, each of our 150 state representatives represent roughly 4,300 people, and each of our 30 state senators roughly 21,500. Vermont’s Legislative Apportionment Board is now examining the new population data and drawing up possible maps from which they will make a recommendation to the Legislature what changes to the status quo need to be made. The incumbents, in the end, get to pick their voters.

John Klar

Since the 1960s, Vermont has had a weird, hybrid hodgepodge of one- and two-member House districts, and one-, two-, three- and six-member Senate districts with populations multiplied by the number of elected officials. (A single-member house district has 4,300 people, a two-member house district has 8,600, and so on.) This immediately raises fairness questions. Why does a constituent in Chittenden County get to vote for and call upon six senators when issues arise, whereas a constituent in Orange or Lamoille County gets to vote for and call upon only one? Why does a candidate running for Senate in Windsor County (three members) have to raise enough money and invest enough time to reach 64,500 constituents at election time to have a shot at winning, whereas a candidate in Grand Isle needs to raise and spend only enough to reach 21,500? This is unfair and inequitable on many levels.

Two-member districts favor larger political parties. When a smaller party (or an independent) seeks election, two-member districts greatly disadvantage them because voters are required to render two votes, and that second vote will often go to a dominant party candidate. This skews the process against minority party candidates.

This has been borne out nationally in studies of equity. Vermont’s Racial Equity Task Force noted in its 2021 Report:

Extensive political research and case law have demonstrated that in most of the U.S., states and localities have taken increasingly flagrant tactics designed to suppress and dilute the votes of communities of color. One such tactic is the use of multi-member districts.

Yet, the number of two-member districts in Vermont was increased in the last round of reapportionments: “The final plan resulted in a decrease in single-member districts from the previous reapportionment. Senatorial districts for the counties of Bennington, Caledonia, Franklin, Grand Isle, Orange, and Washington remained unchanged from 2002 reapportionment.”

With all of the grandstanding about race in Vermont, it is embarrassing that the state has moved in the direction of systemic voting structures that undermine minority candidates, of any color. Vermont’s progressives are quick to criticize other states — and the nation — for supposedly discriminatory voting laws. It is now time to put up or shut up — weighting Vermont’s voting reapportionment to favor single-member districts that prioritize fair democratic representation should be a priority for the 2021-22 redistricting process, even though that may weaken the Progressive stronghold in the Vermont Legislature.

This year we have an opportunity to end this nuttiness and eliminate the inherent inequities of multi-member voting districts by moving to an all-single-member system for electing our senators and representatives. But the people are going to have to scream loud to overcome the incumbent protection incentives and gerrymandering temptations built into the multi-member district maps.

So, start screaming! A clear and detailed survey has been created for that very purpose. Please review the brief questions in this petition, and add your voice. Single-member districts favor equity and inclusion while safeguarding equal representation — who could object to that? One person, one vote; one district, one rep! It just makes sense.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and the former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2021. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Mark Gunn

8 thoughts on “John Klar: One person, one vote — one district, one rep

  1. Right on. The ultimate would be return to the 40’s when every town was represented. Those guys got it done in those days. What about two senators for every county same as US state representation (w/o increase in terms)?

  2. Regardless of the form of government the proverb fits: Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
    Think about it

  3. 9-8-21
    Maricopa County Canvassing Result Report By Wendy Rogers
    173,104 Lost Votes and 96,389 Ghost Votes
    Key Takeaways
    Lost votes are those votes where people voted but their votes were discarded.
    Ghost votes are those votes cast by someone other than the voter assigned to the vote.
    Dead voters accounted for a significant number of these anomalies.

    Biden won Ariziona by only 12,000+- votes.

    So, now what?

  4. At this point in our American history, sorry to say, I do not believe politics is anything but the entertainment arm of the oligarchy, themselves the servants of Mammon. How can any good come from a system created from a place of scarcity, dominance and power?
    NOTHING WILL CHANGE as long as you trust the system the crooks put in place to keep us in place. We can keep shuffling, hoping and whatevering, but at the end of the day, the system is rigged against us, and in Vermont, by a foreign country heavily invested in world dominance and control – and better at achieving it than we are.
    The system is broken.
    Continuing to expect different results with a tweak here or there, is to my mind the true definition of insanity, keeps us on the gerbil wheel, and keeps us compliant with tyranny.
    THIS system is evil, corrupt, and not under American control.
    Dominance and control – for adrenochrome harvesting – has always been the game.
    Fix that, and you fix the system.

    • Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

  5. I like it, John!
    Less manipulation in the name of fairness, more accountability on the individual Representative and Senator.

    Much more difficult to hide.

  6. One representative from each district, one senator from each county. Just think of the money saved and the great amount of nonsense stopped under the Golden Doom with such a plan. Does Vermont really need all of these progressive nanny state, carpetbaggers screwing up this once great state of Vermont? The institutions of our state will only return to normal once the crazies are removed from the institutions of Montpeculier and Chittenden County and all the counties power are reduced to one Senator. Make your voices heard or continue the destruction of Vermont. And while we are at it, let’s Legalize Individual Freedom!!!!

  7. Vermont’s stacked representatives, like in Chittenden County carry the leverage to
    sway policies, small towns don’t stand a chance on their concerns……….

    Why do you think the state is in the dire state it is in, liberal nonsense and Chittenden
    county is leading the way !!

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