Letter to the Editor - June 28

June 28, 2011

West Virginia needs single-delegate districts

To the editor:

Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates should be more accountable to the voters. Currently, many of our delegates serve in multi-member districts, in which two, three, four, five, or even seven delegates represent the same district.

The creation of 100 single-member House of Delegates districts would require each delegate in a current multi-member district to represent a smaller population, increase accountability to voters in those districts, and provide better governance for all of West Virginia.

The current makeup of the West Virginia House of Delegates is as follows:

  • 36 Single-Member Districts (36 Delegates)
  • 11 Two-Member Districts (22 Delegates)
  • 6 Three-Member Districts (18 Delegates)
  • 3 Four-Member Districts (12 Delegates)
  • 1 Five-Member District (5 Delegates)
  • 1 Seven-Member District (7 Delegates)

Every ten years, following the federal census, the West Virginia Legislature is required to redraw legislative districts, to balance the number of voters in each district with population changes over the preceding 10 years. The West Virginia Legislature will do this in a special legislative session, which will begin on Aug. 1.

Smaller, single-member delegate districts provide increased voter accountability for each delegate in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

Single-member districts give delegates much less room to waffle, wiggle and hide from accountability to their constituents. It also provides for “one person/one vote” elections wherein legislators are much more accountable for their individual records and proposals in elections. Sadly, West Virginia is one of the last few states with multi-member election districts.

Del. Larry D. Kump
Falling Waters, W.Va.

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