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Single Member Districts Essay

692 words - 3 pages

The single-member district election system is the most common and best-known electoral system currently in use in America. It is used to elect the U.S. House Representatives, as well as many state and local legislatures. Under single member district systems, an area is divided into a number of geographically defined voting districts, each represented by a single elected official. Voters can only vote for their district’s representative, with the individual receiving the most votes winning election. This method of electing representatives is better than any alternative solution in various ways. Four compelling reasons to support the single-member district election system include the fact that single-member districts give each voter a single, easily identifiable district member; the way single-member district voting helps protect against overreaching party influence; that single-member districts ensure geographic representation; and finally, that single-member districts are the best way to maximize representatives’ accountability.
Giving each voter a specific representative is extremely important. Doing so helps to encourage constituency service by providing voters with an easily identifiable “ombudsman.” Voters feel like they are well represented and can go to their congressman (or whoever their representative may be) with questions and requests, and their representative will understand them because he or she is “one of them.” Having a specific representative also helps people to avoid the worry that they don’t have any say in who governs them. Likewise, more individuals will tend to vote because people are voting for an actual person rather than a group or a party.
Single-member districts also help minimize the perennial danger of overreaching party power. In some other electoral methods, voters are forced to vote by party rather than by candidate. Single-member districts solve this problem by appointing one winner in each district, regardless of party affiliation. That way, regardless of what party the voters personally align to, they can vote for whichever candidate they think will do the best job representing them. Districts with a heavy single party majority will generally give that vote to the main party but it is the best method we...

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