The electoral constituencies for the House of Representatives of Howland are commonly called electorates or seats, though the proper legal term is constituencies. There are currently 54 single-member constituencies in the House of Representatives of Howland.
The constitution of Howland requires that the number of members in the House of Representatives be twice the number of members in the Senate, or as closely as is practicable. Subsequent legislation further provides for how the number of members is determined.
From time to time, new constituencies are created, and existing constituencies are abolished or their boundaries redrawn in a process known as reapportionment. This takes place every six years, using the most up-to-date census information from Statistics Howland and voter enrollment data from the electoral commission. Boundaries are drawn by a nonpartisan Boundary Commission, and apportionment is determined on the basis of the number of enrolled voters rather than total resident population. The number of enrolled voters in each constituency cannot vary by more than 5% from the nationwide average.
Constituencies are divided into three classes according to population and demographic: metropolitan, provincial and rural.
The constituencies of the House of Representatives are unusual in that many of them are not named after geographical features, sections of cities or administrative divisions, or numbered, as is the case in most other legislatures around the world. Most constituencies are named in honor of prominent historical people, such as former politicians (often Prime Ministers), explorers, artists and engineers.
In some cases where a constituency is named after a geographical area, the connection to that area is sometimes tenuous. For instance the Constituency of Valley, created in 1949, was named for the Six Valleys Region in southwestern Howland. However, Valley has not contained the region for some time, and has steadily moved some 100 km east to the far western suburbs of Luaran.
The creation, abolition and modifying of constituencies is the responsbility of the Electoral Commission of Howland. Some of the criteria the ECH use when naming new constituencies are listed below:
- Name constituencies after deceased Howlanders who have rendered outstanding service to their country, with consideration given to former Prime Ministers.
- Retain the original names of constituencies proclaimed for the first election in 1949
- Avoid geographical place names
- Do not duplicate or use a name similar to that of an existing or abolished constituency.
List of constituencies