Membership• 435 members• Larger body of Congress• Number of seats per state based on population• Each state must have at least one
Qualifications• To be elected to the House of Representatives, you must be: • At least 25 years old • A citizen of the U.S. for at least 7 years • A legal resident of the state you are representingIt is a tradition to live in the district you represent, although it is technically not required• Your rep is Cliff Stearns- District 6
Term of office• 2 year terms• Elections in November of even-numbered years• Term begins on Jan. 3rd• Every 2 years, all 435 members must run for re-election• Over 90% of all representatives are re- elected each year
Representation and reapportionment • Census (population count) every ten years • First census was taken in 1790 • Most recent was 2010 • Next will be 2020 • Reapportionment- pop. of each state (based on census) determines new number of representatives • Some states lose reps • Some states gain reps • Total number always remain 435-
Congressional redistricting• After number of representatives is decided, states must draw up districts• One district per representative• Redistricting-setting up new district lines after reapportionment has been completed• Problems • Unequal population between districts • Gerrymandering
Gerrymandering• District boundaries drawn in an irregular way, where one particular political party gains advantage• Named after Elbridge Gerry- drew a salamander shaped district in Massachusetts to help his party gain advantage-a cartoonists added a head, wings, and claws to the district map and called it gerrymandering• Gerry + Salamander = Gerrymander!
gerrymandering• 2 types- “Packing” and “Cracking” • Packing • Crowding the other party’s voters into one district ensures that your party of choice will win all the other districts • Cracking • Dividing the other party’s voters into small groups within each district weakens their voter base• Supreme Court has ruled that districts must be compact and physically adjoining, but gerrymandering still exists today.