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Q: State Legislatures ( Answered,   1 Comment )
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 Subject: State Legislatures Category: Relationships and Society > Politics Asked by: mongolia-ga List Price: \$20.00 Posted: 10 Nov 2004 11:39 PST Expires: 10 Dec 2004 11:39 PST Question ID: 427203
 ```In the United States ,for each state what is the general process of electing the state representatives? How many representatives are there, how often are they elected and what method of voting is used to elect them? I am not looking for a detailed state by state answer, rather the general process among different states(which I assume to broadly similiar). Regarding the number of State representatives, an average number or typical will suffice. If the number of elected representatives is linked to the population of the state, then I would be interested in ratio of the population to the number of state representatives. Regards Mongolia```
 ```Hello mongolia~ In the United States, the 435 members of the House of Representatives serve a two-year term. (Elections for Representatives are held every two years.) The U.S. Constitution requires at least one Representative per state. Beyond that, the number of representatives per state is determined by population, based upon a census taken each decade. The process of determining how many Reps each state may have is called ?apportionment.? The method of apportionment has changed throughout U.S. History. According to The U.S. Census Bureau, ?The methods used through most of this century have been based upon the use of a mathematically determined priority listing of states...calculated by dividing the population of each state by the geometric mean of its current and next seats--that assigns seats 51 through 435. This will be the method used in Census 2000, according to provisions of Title 2, U.S. Code.? (?Congressional Apportionment--How it's Calculated,? U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/apportionment/calculated.html ) For a more technical description of how apportionments may be calculated, see ?Computing Apportionment? at the U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/apportionment/computing.html To see a list of population vs. House seats, check out Census 2000 Ranking of Priority Values: http://www.census.gov/population/censusdata/apportionment/00pvalues.txt Each state that?s allowed more than one Rep must be divided into districts. Candidates are assigned to each district, and citizens living in that district vote on which candidate will become the official Representative of that district. Representatives must be at least 25 years old, and they must reside in whatever state they represent. If a vacancy occurs in the House in-between elections, a special election must be held to fill that seat. I hope this answers your question thoroughly, but if anything is unclear, please don?t hesitate to request a clarification before rating this Answer. Regards, Kriswrite RESEARCH STRATEGY: Researcher?s personal knowledge Google Search: "house of representatives" Apportionment``` Request for Answer Clarification by mongolia-ga on 10 Nov 2004 12:54 PST ```Kriswrite I may have confused you in my original question. My understanding is that as well as Congress (which is a federal institution and contains the senate and house of representatives) each State (as in New York, Texas, California etc) has it OWN elected Legislature headed up by the State Governer. It is these bodies to which i refer and to which my question refers. Now I may be wrong in this assumption (In which case the state Governer is the only elected person to reside in the state) I am more familiar with Canada which has a Federal Parliament in Ottawa and "Mini Parliaments" for each province. Hope this clarifies Mongolia``` Clarification of Answer by kriswrite-ga on 10 Nov 2004 13:02 PST ```Mongolia~ I'm sorry I misunderstood. You are correct; there are state legislatures. I will get to work on a new Answer. Kriswrite``` Clarification of Answer by kriswrite-ga on 10 Nov 2004 13:50 PST ```Hi again Mongolia~ This is a much more difficult question, as I imagine you realize. This reason for this is that each state has it?s own legislative body and has individual control over how they select their legislature. This means it?s tough to pin point commonalities between the legislatures of all states. Similar to the way the House of Representatives is chosen, state legislatures are apportioned according to population. (Please see the information on apportioning in my original answer.) Additionally, they may be apportioned according to numbers in certain districts, counties, and/or townships. Some states don?t frequently conduct a census, and sometimes redistricting doesn?t occur for many years. Since the 1960s, efforts have been made to remedy this. Nonetheless, similar to the House of Representatives, state legislators are assigned to an area of the state whose citizens then vote them in or out. Typically, the candidate lives in that district. Most state legislators are elected every two years. Many states do not have term limits, so that a representative may serve for as long as citizens will continue to vote them into office. In recent years, efforts have been made to curtail this, and impose term limitations. There really is no way to provide an ?average number? of people serving in state legislatures. For example, Alabama has 40 districts, and two legislators per district. Alaska has 40 districts, with one representative voted in per district. California has 80 districts with one representative each. Each state is quite different. Compounding the confusion, some states divide their legislatures into two bodies, usually called the assembly and senate. California and New York are two states that arrange their legislative body this way. I wish I could give you a more solid Answer, but I don?t think that?s possible. There are just too many variables. Therefore, if you aren?t satisfied with my second Answer, please let me know. Regards, Kriswrite KEYWORDS THAT WERE MOST EFFECTIVE: "state legislatures" "state legislatures" term* years state legislatur* serv* years state legislator* serv* years``` Request for Answer Clarification by mongolia-ga on 11 Nov 2004 07:53 PST ```Kriswrite I take your point that each state can have rather different set up. (And you have of course given me partila answers for certain states) What I would like to suggest is if you can answer my specific questions for the following 5 states - Delaware - Montana - Nevada - Maine - Hawaii Thanks Mongolia``` Clarification of Answer by kriswrite-ga on 11 Nov 2004 12:12 PST ```Hi Mongolia~ Here is the information you requested. If for any reason it?s unclear, don?t hesitate to ask for clarification. Delaware: How many Reps? Delaware has 41 members in their House of Representatives. How often are they elected? Every two years. What method of voting? Electronic voting machine. Montana: How many Reps? Montana?s House of Representatives has 100 members. How often are they elected? Every two years. Montana has limits of 8 or more terms in any 16-year period. What method of voting? Various methods: punch cards, paper, and optical scan. Nevada: How many Reps? Nevada has a State Senate and a State Assembly. The latter is the equivalent of a House of Representatives. There are 42 members of the Assembly. How often are they elected? Assembly members are elected every two years, with a term limit of 12 years. What method of voting? Various: optical scan, electronic, and punch card. Maine: How many Reps? 151 members of the House of Representatives. How often are they elected? Every two years. No member may serve more than four consecutive terms. What method of voting? Various methods, including paper, punch card, and electronic. Hawaii: How many Reps? There are 51 members of the House of Representatives. How often are they elected? Every two years. What method of voting? Optical scan. More information about the various methods of voting may be found at ?A Better Ballot,? The Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1103/p11s02-uspo.html Kind regards, Kriswrite KEYWORDS: Delaware state legislature Delaware voting Montana state legislature Montana state legislature "term limits" Nevada state legislature Main state legislature Hawaii state legislature``` Request for Answer Clarification by mongolia-ga on 12 Nov 2004 03:37 PST ```Hi Kriswrite Thanks for the update on the 5 states. Just one final request When I asked for the method of voting (and again I should have made myself clear) I was actually asking for the method of voting in terms of straight voting, proportional representation, single transferable vote etc as opposed to the physical method of voting. Thanks Mongolia PS the information on the method of voting was very interesting and I was not aware that there are now so many ways that one can vote!``` Clarification of Answer by kriswrite-ga on 12 Nov 2004 08:43 PST ```Hi Mongolia~ I'm glad you found the voting method information interesting, even if it wasn't exactly what you were looking for :) In all these states, the state House Reps are chosen via apportionment. That is, it's based upon popoulation, divided into districts. (As mentioned in my original answer on the House of Representatives.) Is this detailed enough, or would like me to try to dig up specifics on how this is calculated? I'm doubtful that I can find the exact mathmatical method of apportionment per state, but I will certainly try, if you wish me to. Kriswrite``` Request for Answer Clarification by mongolia-ga on 13 Nov 2004 05:40 PST ```Can you explain a littlelbit better what you mean by apportionment? In straight voting one chooses one candidate from a list of candidates where only one candidate can be choosen fro office. In proportional one choooses one or more candidates from a list of candidates where two or more candidates can be choosen. Thanks Mongolia``` Clarification of Answer by kriswrite-ga on 15 Nov 2004 08:11 PST ```Hi Mongolia~ I'm sorry I wasn't perfectly clear. First, the state is divided up into sections called ?districts.? The sections are chosen according to population, so that a city might be one district, but a much larger area in the country might be another district. This is called ?apportionment.? (In other words, apportionment deals directly with the math: How many Representatives should the House have per how many citizens? The methods for deciding this vary from state to state, but a common method of making this determination is to divide ?the population of each state by the geometric mean of its current and next seats.? (?Congressional Apportionment--How it's Calculated,? U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/apportionment/calculated.html ) For a more technical description of how apportionments may be calculated, see ?Computing Apportionment? at the U.S. Census Bureau, which specifically looks at apportionment at the Federal level: http://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/apportionment/computing.html ) The method of election is thus: Candidates are chosen for each district. (In most cases, they must be residents of the district.) Ideally, there are at least two candidates per district to choose from, although sometimes the incumbent runs without opposition. (Which, incidentally, doesn?t prevent voters from choosing someone else. Write-in votes are possible, and do sometimes elect a new politician.) I hope that makes better sense :) Kriswrite```
 ```As kriswrite typed, many of the fifty States pattern the federal with both a House/Assembly and a Senate, The 80 represenatives in California each represent about 120,000 registered voters on the average. This falls to about 40,000 registered voters for some of the least populous states, which typically have fewer than 80 house members. Neil```