I've been working for some time on a new electoral system that I thought might show promise as the most precise method of proportional representation feasible. If nobody minds, I'd like to run it by you guys (this is my first post here, by the way).
Anyway, the centerpiece of the system would be a fundamental reform in House elections. I'm sure we'Re all aware of the problems there are currently (the two-party system, corporate domination, gerrymandering, first-past-the-post systematic disenfranchisement, and so on and so forth). My system proposes multimember constituencies of roughly equal population (by roughly, I figured a band of between 500k and 900k people, with a 750k target - for the most part, districts would be formed along county lines, or along county subdivision lines as determined by the Census Bureau - no more of this census tract-level gerrymandering). Candidates could run in the primaries with a small processing fee and a few signatures, and then in the primaries the candidates would be narrowed to one per party for the general (in order to prevent the two big parties from maintaining control by running clone candidates in the general to edge out smaller parties). Each constituent would cast a ranked ballot in the general election. A candidate would be elected when he or she received some set minimum proportion of the cast votes (I like 15%, personally, because it keeps the maximum number to six, so that the House doesn't get too bloated). Any candidate not receiving 15% of the first choice votes is eliminated, and the next choice of all voters who voted for such a candidate first would be considered - the first vote for a remaining candidate would be considered. Each winning candidate, ultimately, receives the same number of votes in the House as the number of voters who voted for that candidate.
Example: In Constituency X, 200,000 people vote, and thus the election cutoff is 30,000 votes. 100,000 vote for Candidate A, 75,000 for Candidate B, and 25,000 for Candidate C. Candidates A and B are elected, while C is eliminated; since 10,000 of C's supporters supported A second, and 15,000 supported B second, Candidate A will have 110,000 votes and Candidate B will have 90,000 votes in the House.
This reform would make it easier for smaller parties to win seats, remove the incentive for gerrymandering, and give the public a concrete example of the power one's vote can hold. Hopefully, it would break the two-party system's hold on elections and allow for alternate voices, which should decrease voter apathy.
These House reforms would, by necessity, remove the Electoral College, although if necessary it could be replaced (on a Nebraska-Maine style system) with a distribution per unit of population of electoral votes, with the slight weighing of smaller state's values. I would also propose that three or four senators be elected per state (since the unfair nature of the Senate itself cannot be removed by amendment, at least it should be able to represent more voices). Both the presidential and senatorial elections should also be executed by either ranked ballot or approval voting, in order to ensure that the inroads made in the House work on all levels.
The disadvantages I've been able to identify so far are:
-The size of a theoretically maximum 2400-person House would require more money in salaries and benefits, plus extensive renovation of the current House or construction of a new one
-The size would also create problems with the current House committee system, although compensations could be made
-Congresspersons with smaller numbers of votes may be to some extent left out of the bargaining and negotiation processes
-Remembering every representative's voting power would be quite a chore
Anyway, what do you guys think about this system? Do you like it? Do you like it better than the European systems of proportional representation? Do you think it would work if instituted? Would you like living under this system? Do you see any problems or major flaws in it, and do you have any suggestions for improvement upon it? Did somebody else out there already come up with it? Thanks for your input.