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§ 110. “A Quota shall be Ascertained.”

The quota is that number of the aggregate population of the Commonwealth which, considered as a unit, is entitled to one member in the House of Representatives. It is obtained by dividing the population of the Commonwealth by twice the number of senators. The population is that shown in the latest statistics. The number resulting from the division, the quotient, is called the quota. This is the ratio of representation, there being one representative for every quota of the population of the Commonwealth. The method of obtaining the quota may be shown as follows:—

   
Twice the number of senators.  Population of Commonwealth.  Quota 
72  3,717,700  51,635 (or exactly, 51,634·72) 

It seems clear that strict accuracy requires that the quota should be calculated out to an exact decimal fraction. To neglect the fraction might, in occasional instances, just make the difference of a representative more or less. Thus, suppose that the exact quota were 50,000·4, and that the population of one of the States were 1,025,001. If the


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quota were taken at its integral value, 50,000, the State would be entitled to 21 representatives—20 in respect of 1,000,000 inhabitants, and one more in respect of the remainder of 25,001, which is greater than one-half of the quota. But if the quota is taken at its exact value the remainder will only be 24,993, or less than one-half the quota, and the State will only be entitled to 20 representatives.

This method of ascertaining the quota may be altered by the Federal Parliament and another substituted. But the “two to one ratio,” and the rule requiring the distribution of representatives chosen in the several States in proportion to the respective numbers of their people, cannot be interfered with except by an amendment of the constitution.

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