March 2009

Top Stories
• Bravo Specter
• Redistricting 2010
• DC Representation
• Delusional
• Early Voting
• Divestment
• Madoff
• Green Jobs
• Letters to the Editor

• Lost Election
• Chazan not defeated
• Honoring Victims

In Their Own Words
• Alan Grayson

• Recording For Blind

• Israeli Film Fest
• Honoring Lodish
• New Mural Project

Raising A Mensch
• Soul Child

Teen Voice
• Walking the Walk

The Kosher Table
• Jewish Food Influence

Free Subscription

Past Issues
2009 JF

The official registrations and financial information of The Philadelphia Jewish Voice may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.
    Email This     About     Subscription     Donate     Contact     Links     Archives  

Mayor Anthony Williams and the District of Columbia's Department of Motor Vehicles introduced the "Taxation Without Representation" logo license plates on November 4, 2000. The idea originated from DC resident Sarah Shapiro. Declared as ‘Driving Toward Democracy Day,’ DC Vote and Ms. Shapiro were joined on November 4, 2000, by Mayor Anthony Williams, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and several DC Councilmembers to kick-off the license plate campaign by ceremoniously removing the old plates from their cars and replacing them with the new ones. Hundreds of DC drivers also showed up to trade in their old plates in order to take DC’s message on the road.
News and Opinion

Taxation With Representation
A novel concept for the District of Columbia.

-- Daniel E. Loeb

The seat of our Democracy Washington DC is the home to over half a million Americans. After waiting over two centuries, it appears that they may soon be represented in Congress. People who live in DC pay the second highest per capita federal income taxes in the country but have no vote on how the federal government spends their tax dollars and no vote on important issues such as health care, education, Social Security, environmental protection, crime control, public safety and foreign policy.

In 1961, the 23rd Constitutional amendment granted DC residents the right to vote in Presidential elections. In 1973, Congress passed the District of Columbia Home Rule Act giving DC the right to a local government (mayor and city council).

Sen. Hatch and Sen. Lieberman discuss the DC Voting Rights Act.

This year, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and the District of Columbia's non-voting delegate in the House of Represenatives Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009 (S-160 ). This bill would give Washington DC a seat in the House of Representatives for the first time. Similar legislation was passed by the House in 2007 but failed in the Senate failed due to a Republican fillibuster. Because of Democratic gains in the 2008 election and increased attention to the plight of DC's citizens, the Democrats were able to overcome the Republican fillibuster and pass the bill by a vote of 61-37. The vote was mostly by party line with Democratic Senators Baucus (D-MT) and Byrd (D-WV) voting "nay", and Republican Senators Collin (R-ME), Hatch (R-UT), Lugar (R-IN), Snowe (R-ME), Voinovich (R-OH) and Specter (R-PA) voting "aye". Unfortunately, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) succeeded in attaching an ammendment to the bill to expand gun ownership in the District. Other amendments were defeated which would have ceded most of DC to Maryland, or exonerated DC residents from federal income tax.

The House of Representative will now vote on the bill (H.R. 157 ) where it is expected to pass easily and this expanded gun ownership amendment may be able to be removed by the conference committee. President Barack Obama was actually a co-sponsor of the 2007 version of the bill, and pledged during the campaign to sign such a bill were it passed by Congress while he was President.

Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) may become the District of Columbia first Congressman.

As part of the compromise which allowed this bill to get out of committee, the Washington DC's Representative will be accompanied by an additional Representative, bring the total number of Congressman in the House of Representative from 435 to 437. Similarly, the Electoral College will increase in size from 538 to 539 electors. As a result ties in the Electoral College will become impossible in a two-way Presidential contest.

Utah will be automatically awarded the extra seat in the House of Representative since they were just beaten out by North Carolina for the last seat in the House. (This reapportionment was unsuccessfully challenged by Utah in the Supreme Court first claiming that their 11,000 Mormon missionaries abroad should have been included in the census and then claiming that improper statistical methods were used to estimate population.)

Once the bill is passed and signed into law, the additional Represenative from Utah and the Representative from the District of Columbus will be seated in the 112th Congress and will remain in office from January 2011 through January 2013.

The apportionment of the 113th Congress will be determined by the 2010 Census, so it is unlikely that Utah will continue to benefit from the permanent expansion of the House of Representatives.

The Census bureau released population estimates in December which suggest for example that Texas may gain four seats and Ohio and Pennsylvania may lose a couple of seats. The exact results depend on how population evolves over the next two years. We can project the population using the Census estimate of the 2008 population and then extrapolating to 2010 on the basis of the changes between say 2006 and 2008. Obviously this projection is subject to error, but I suppose that the actual population is within 0.5% of the projected value. I then randomly sampled 100,000 possible census results within 0.5% of the projected values, and determined the reapportionment of the House of Representatives for those census results according to the current rules with 435 Representatives and according to the new rules with 436 Representatives besides the one from Washington D.C. In each trial, one state had an extra Representative according to the new rules compared to the apportionment with the old rules.

Extrapolating 2006-2008, Change through 2010    
State # of trials with extra delegates probability (sampling error ~0.1%)
California 15,602 15.6%
Oregon 15,564 15.6%
Washington 14,897 14.9%
North Carolina 14,881 14.9%
New York 12,525 12.5%
Texas 11,785 11.8%
Minnesota 7,016 7.0%
Louisiana 3,735 3.7%
Pennsylvania 3,034 3.0%
South Carolina 793 0.8%
Missouri 168 0.2%
Extrapolating 2007-2008, Change through 2010    
State # of trials with extra delegates probability (sampling error ~0.1%)
Washington 18,305 18.3%
Oregon 17,928 18.0%
North Carolina 17,061 17.1%
Texas 14,012 14.1%
New York 13,074 13.1%
Minnesota 7,283 7.3%
South Carolina 4,150 4.2%
California 4,032 4.0%
Pennsylvania 3,568 3.6%
Illonois 397 0.4%
Arizona 100 0.1%

Note that Utah will certainly earn a fourth Representative on the basis of its population increase over the decade and stands no chance of earning a fifth Representative, so Utah will not benefit from this bill in the 113th Congress. The states which are mostly likely to benefit might be California, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New York or Louisiana which may be able to avoid losing a Representative, or Oregon, Washington, North Carolina, or Texas which might be able to earn an extra Representative. Many of these states have strong Democratic parties so it is likely that the extra seat in the House of Representatives "balancing" DC's new seat will not stay long in Republican hands.

Did you enjoy this article?

If so,

  • share it with your friends so they do not miss out on this article,
  • subscribe (free), so you do not miss out on the next issue,
  • donate (not quite free but greatly appreciated) to enable us to continue providing this free service.

If not,