Why is Congressional proxy voting an acceptable practice?OK, fair enough. But if proxy voting is an acceptable practice for members of Congress, why not extend it to the selection of those members? American politicians love to crow about the beauty of “our representative democracy.” That’s a fun fable from the get-go. Not all Americans can vote for their supposed representatives. Of those who are allowed to vote, it’s not unusual for less than half to actually do so. And once those who choose to vote have voted, a single plurality or majority winner, who seldom receives the votes of as many as 25% of his or her supposed constituents, claims to “represent” 100% of those constituents whether they like it or not. And now, that winner can just farm out his or her “representation” duties to others with a proxy, then go play golf or sit at home and binge the new season of Amazon’s latest.
Why can’t Americans have a proxy vote that sticks?Why not allow each supposedly “represented” American to choose a proxy that sticks, instead of casting a “vote” that may or may not result in real representation? Increase the size of the US House of Representatives to a maximum of 1,000 votes. That’s votes, not members. Passage of a bill requires 501 votes (a majority). Overriding a veto requires 667 votes (2/3). Based on the current population as calculated on some kind of schedule (every two years, perhaps), any constitutionally qualified candidate who holds the proxies of at least 1/1000th of the population becomes a member of the House with at least one of those thousand votes. If the candidate receives more proxies than the 1/1000th minimum, his or her vote is weighted accordingly. Constituents can withdraw or re-assign their proxies on the first of each month. Constituents who choose not to assign their proxies at all have “representation” as an absence of votes on the House floor. It takes 501 votes to pass a bill. If there are only enough assigned proxies to empower 500 votes, nothing can be passed. It would take a constitutional amendment. However, requiring 2/3 of both the House and Senate to give up fake “representation” for real representation is a long shot. The same is true with the requirement of 3/4 of the state legislatures. But if proxy voting is good enough for our “representatives,” it’s good enough for the rest of us too.
Thomas L. Knapp is the director and senior news analyst for the Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism. Knapp is a journalism veteran of over 35 years and a full-time libertarian writer, editor and publisher since 2000.