Section 3 of this amendment doesn’t amend any text (see The Dangers of Districts).
It doesn’t give Congress or state legislatures any new power, either. Statutes proposed
to correct gerrymandering often require expanding powers for one or the other.
And the same people Article I, Section 2's apportionment census counts for representation
will continue to be counted for representation.
Why do we need redistricting factors in the Constitution?
(see Redistricting and the Courts) can assure that only these factors are used
and that they are used correctly.
Although we officially district by geography this functions more as a stand-in for a vested interest, party affiliation. When geography isn't sufficient to advantage the drafters' party, secondary factors ("tradition"?) creep in unevenly to distort the district map even more. Distortion of redistricting to unbalance legislative priorities is called gerrymandering, and it has become a critical problem.
While parties have their uses, they have no business turning redistricting into a tug-of-war.
Section 3 is brief and simple but provides a complete clause for future generations.
It's a process for the public's needs, the constitutional standard: instead of a redistricting process designed by legislators to help unbalance legislative priorities, it uses the redistricting process to prevent legislative priorities from being unbalanced. This is the most important consideration in districting.
If the Constitution is going to include districting at all (and it should), that's what it has to do.
There are three factors that make sense when used in districting:
• economic level,
• and party affiliation.
This amendment doesn’t remove the geographic factor we're used to. Where people live affects real issues they have: city or country? blizzard or drought? But this must be the most general spatial division of population possible, avoiding imposing land or its features on population. And the clause adds a second factor that reduces the danger of using geography alone.
Why do we need two factors?
Genuine two-factor districting, using economic level and location, solves more than one problem.
Because they cover both Congress and state governments, state political machines can become powerful. Within states dynasties can arise; in Congress, large states can vote as a bloc to dominate smaller ones. Adding a second factor that cuts across each state's delegation to Congress reduces this dramatically but leaves each state's Representatives able to vote together for those statewide concerns that do arise from size. It counters the one negative effect of increasing House size (see Frozen Apportionment): a greater difference in number of Representatives between large and small states.
What’s not allowed to Government is prohibited (Amendments IX and X). By not expressing or implying them, this amendment prohibits most of the factors in current semiofficial use, and it’s high time. Nothing should disturb redistricting by population, and districting factors should only be used as they divide actual population. The factors have been tightly vetted. For example, tradition is irrelevant because reapportionment is topical, done every ten years. Voting isn't an apportionment issue but has to be considered independently, so it can't be a districting factor. No safeguard for the weight of votes may unbalance apportionment factors (see The Representation Question).
Why economic level?
because it also reduces inequality of representation by income.
Some countries use party affiliation, and we already separate primaries by party. But Americans are questioning the harmful effects of partisanship. Open primaries instead of party primaries are a growing movement. We need to address partisanship’s effect on power.
The highest income level is small but advantaged in Congress. Factoring in income levels holds the representation of income levels to the same percentages they have in reality.
Economic level is a useful factor.
equal for all of us includes
economic levels from unbalancing it.
The factors we use to draw districts today don't.
In order to meet the Constitution's requirements we need factors that do. These do.
And just having another factor cuts across the size differences among states, reducing size's impact the right way, so we don't need frozen apportionment.
A ten million dollar allocation for senior services and a ten billion dollar grant to a wealthy developer can take up about the same space in a newspaper or a Representative's newsletter. But one is 1,000 times the size of the other.
When one Representative represents all economic levels, it's easy to hide an effectiveness bias towards the upper levels. The Representative can be more effective in benefitting them while giving scraps to the other economic levels.
Officially dividing Representatives by economic level ensures that
if one Representative is less effective than another the difference can't be hidden.
No other method is known that can address this problem.