After Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker made the most confusing attempt to explain proportional representation that I've ever heard, I'm going to attempt to explain the principle of proportional representation. You can watch Walker's explanation of proportional representation below, and I've watched the video a few times, and I still don't get Walker's explanation:
Special thanks to Rebecca Kemble of The Progressive for filming the video
The principle behind proportional representation, in regards to how it is applied to determine the makeup of the United States House of Representatives, is that each state is apportioned a certain number of votes reflecting how many people lived there at the time the last Census was taken.
Every ten years, the U.S. Constitution requires the Federal Government to take a census, or count how many people live in the United States. This is done by legally requiring people to fill out census forms that are either mailed to them or sending a census taker to a person's home to gather information. That population count is used by Congress to apportion a subset of the 435 seats of the United States House of Representatives to each U.S. state based on that's state's population. The objective of proportional representation, in the case of apportionment of U.S. House seats among the states, is to apportion the seats to the states so that the number of seats that each state has reflects how many people lived in that state at the time the last Census was taken.
After the 435 U.S. House seats are apportioned to the states, those states which have been apportioned 2 or more seats are required to draw up congressional districts. This process is known as redistricting, and, except for states that have been apportioned a single seat, the states have to draw up one congressional district for each seat that they have been apportioned. Wisconsin has been apportioned 8 seats as a result of the most recent Census, so, since the Wisconsin State Legislature has the authority to draw up Wisconsin's congressional districts, the Legislature drew 8 congressional districts. My home state of Illinois has been apportioned 18 seats as a result of the most recent Census, so, since the Illinois General Assembly has the authority to draw up Illinois's congressional districts, the General Assembly drew 18 congressional districts. Each of Wisconsin's congressional districts contains one-eighth of Wisconsin's population, and each of Illinois's congressional districts contains one-eighteenth of Illinois's population.
What Scott Walker was probably trying to explain was the Connecticut Compromise, and I'll explain that. During the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, the delegations of the states that had higher populations and the delegations of the states that had lower populations deadlocked on whether to apportion congressional seats based on the population of each state, which was favored by the delegations of the larger states, or apportion the same number of congressional seats to each state irregardless of each state's population, which was favored by the delegations of the smaller states. Two members of the Connecticut delegation, Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth, broke the deadlock by proposing that one house of Congress shall have it seats apportioned to the states based on the populations of each state, which became the United States House of Representatives, and the other house of Congress shall have two of its seats apportioned to each state irregardless of the populations of each state, which became the United States Senate.
What do you think of my attempt to explain proportional representation?