Donald McCabe: Choose House by Lot

An item from the Vergne bibliography:

Choose House by Lot

Published by The New York Times: March 15, 1991

To the Editor:

In “Expanded Congress Would Help Women” (letter, Feb. 24), Prof. Wilma Rule suggests a complicated scheme for the selection of members of the House of Representatives so that women and minorities may be fairly represented. As I understand the methods she recommends, however, there is no guarantee of any such effect. In any case, she ignores a simple means of choosing Representatives that would have the desirable results she wants, as well as others.

If members of the House were chosen by lot, instead of being elected (with still only one member for each district), the laws of statistics would assure that every part of our population would be represented very nearly proportionally. In addition, veto power over legislation would belong to a body that was not composed of professional politicians, who would have no interest in being re-elected and would therefore be subject to limited influence.
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