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Which State Has the Most Representatives and Why

In the U.S., national representatives are divided into two groups, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is meant to represent the people, not the state, while the Senate represents the states on an equal basis. This was an agreement implemented by the Great Compromise in 1787. This means that the House has a system which determines which state has the most representatives and which state or states have the least.

Two senators are elected from each state to serve in the Senate, a part of the legislative branch of the government known as Congress. This is a fixed number implemented by the United States Constitution (article 1, section 3, clause 1). There are never more than 100 senators serving in Congress at a time.

However, the House of Representatives, the other half of Congress, works a little differently. While representatives, also known as congressmen and congresswomen, are still elected, the system is based on population. This determines which state has the most representatives. Therefore, larger states with a bigger population will have the most representatives, versus smaller states with lower populations. Each member of the House represents a set number of constituents.

The House never has more than 435 representatives serving in Congress at a time. Each state is guaranteed at least one representative in the House. This law has been in effect since 1913 and is enforced by Public Law 62-5.

The House and the Senate assemble in Washington D.C. at least once a year. These meetings are called sessions and begin at noon on January 3 of each odd-numbered year and can last months at a time. A term for any representative is two years and all members of the House are up for reelection at this time. The next election date for representatives is November 6, 2018.

As of 2017, California has the most representatives with 53 and has a population of roughly 40 million. Other states with a large number of representatives are Texas with 36 representatives and a population of 28 million. Florida with a population of 20 million and New York with a population of 19 million have 27 representatives each.

Many states with much lower populations have only one representative. Wyoming with a population of 570,000, Vermont with 230,000, Alaska with 730,000, North Dakota with 750,000, South Dakota with 860,000, Delaware with 960,000 and Montana with just over one million all have just a single representative.

Congress, which includes both the Senate and the House of Representatives, is the legislative branch of the government and essentially in charge of making the nation’s laws.

Each of the 435 representatives is elected. Voting is a constitutional right for Americans. Knowing the history and mechanics of the House of Representatives, as well as which state has the most representatives versus the least, is useful for making an educated decision when voting for representatives.

– Courtney Wallace

Photo: Flickr

Congressmen and Congresswomen

In simple terms, Congressmen and Congresswomen are members of the U.S. Congress who are elected to represent the people in their districts. Congressmen and Congresswomen create and pass legislation and hold hearings. Congress also plays an essential role in passing laws, because all bills must be passed by Congress before they go to the president to be signed into law.

Congress is split into two bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 435 members, whereas the Senate has only 100 members. Each state has two senators, but the number of representatives a state has is based on its population. For example, California, a considerably large state, has 53 representatives, more than any other U.S. state.

In order to be a member of the House, a person has to be at least 25 years of age, a resident of his or her state at the time of the election, and have had U.S. citizenship for at least seven years. The Senate also requires members to be residents of his or her state at the time of election, though Senators must be at least 30 years of age and have been a U.S. citizen for at least nine years.

The requirements to hold office in Congress originate in British law. When creating the requirements, the founders made the age restriction for the House lower because it was designed to be the closest to the people and therefore less restrictive. The idea of having a higher age requirement for the Senate was because senators have duties that require more knowledge and character stability.

Aside from the differences in requirements to hold each position, the House and Senate also have different election cycles. Congressmen and Congresswomen in the House serve only two-year terms, whereas members of the Senate serve six-year terms. House elections happen every even year, but Senate elections are staggered during even years so that in any given election, only one-third of the Senate is up for reelection.

There are many differences between the House and the Senate, such as how long it takes each body to pass a bill. The House can pass a bill as quickly as in one day, whereas a bill can be debated on the Senate floor for two to three weeks.

The House operates based on committees and subcommittees, which are used to review bills and operate as an oversight for the executive branch of the U.S. government. This body’s main power is to pass federal legislation, though that legislation also has to go through the Senate and the president before becoming a law. The House also has the power to try federal officers for high crimes and misdemeanors, thought the Senate has the right to try the House’s impeachment.

Among the main powers of the Senate is the power to consent to treaties. The Senate’s consent to a treaty is required before a treaty can be ratified. The Senate also has the power to confirm the appointments of Cabinet secretaries and other federal officials and officers.

Each state has two senators to represent the state’s population, but a representative’s constituency is smaller, being only the population of their district. Congressmen and Congresswomen play an essential role in passing bills so that they can become laws after signed off on by the president. Though Congressmen and Congresswomen have many different tasks, their ultimate job is to represent their constituents in the U.S. government.

– Haley Rogers

Photo: Flickr