A new article by Article V scholar and Convention of States endorser Robert Natelson debunks the common misconception that an Article V convention could change the "one state/one vote" rule.
Convention of States critics fabricate this claim to spark fear against using Article V of the Constitution. Here are some highlights from Natelson's thought-provoking piece:
Could a convention of states change the “one state/one vote” rule to one based on population? The short answer is “No.”
In at least 42 conventions of states and colonies over 350+years, there is no precedent for such a change. The possibility exists only in the fantasies of convention opponents.
Defenders of the federal government and other opponents of an Article V convention raise the issue in two contradictory ways. In urban states, they attack the Constitution’s convention process for using the the one state/one vote rule. (The say it is “undemocratic.”) But in rural states, they attack the Constitution’s convention process because, they say, it might not use the one state/one vote rule!
(They used to claim Congress could write the rules before the evidence made that argument untenable.)
Why the Question is Based on Fantasy
The one state/one vote system is based on a core principle of interstate conventions: sovereign equality. Claims that a convention might discard that core principle disregard political, demographic, historical, and legal realties.
Let’s examine the political and demographic facts first.
Natelson goes on to explain the political and demographic realities. Over half the states would have to support changing to a population formula. Through simple math, he proves it essentially impossible.
The above-average population states would enjoy the benefits of changing to this system, but 33 states fall below the average. This means 33 states would be giving up power and instead, allow the most populous states like California to gain control. It's unthinkable that any state would surrender its current voice.
Some additional key points he brings into view:
- There are only 17 states with more than 6.75 million people. 33 states have less.
- Even if (which is unlikely) all 17 urban states voted for a population-based system, at least nine rural states would have to vote to reduce their own power.
- Some of the more conservative large states like Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and Indiana probably would not vote to change the rule—so even more rural states would have to vote to disenfranchise themselves.
Read Natelson's full article on the Independence Institute here.