Plural district

A plural district was a district in the United States House of Representatives that was represented by more than one member. States using this method elected multiple members from some of their geographically defined districts. They did so on a single ballot (block voting) or on separate concurrent ballots for each seat (conducting multiple plurality elections). In more modern terms, for less ambiguity, such a district is termed a multi-member district (such as many of those of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, abroad and in other bodies).

Such greater than one-member district magnitude was used to give more populous counties or established Congressional Districts fair representation without redistricting (specifically, dividing them). It was rare before 1805 but notably applied to many Congressional Districts of New York and Pennsylvania until federally (nationally) prohibited by the 1842 Apportionment Bill and consequent locally implementing legislation.

Plural district usageEdit

This is a table of every instance of the use of plural districts in the United States Congress

Congress State:Congressional Representatives for the plural district(s) (#detailed)
3rd MA:13 (#1,2,3,4)
4th PA:2 (#4)
8th MD:2 (#5), PA:8 (#1,2,3,4)
9th MD:2 (#5), NY:2 (#2 combined with 3), PA:8 (#1,2,3,4)
11th MD:2 (#5), NY:4 (#2,6), PA:8 (#1,2,3,4)
13th MD:2 (#5), NY:12 (#1,2,12,15,20,21), PA:14 (#1,2,3,5,6,10), NJ:6 (#1,2,3)
14th MD:2 (#5), NY:12 (#1,2,12,15,20,21), PA:14 (#1,2,3,5,6,10)
17th MD:2 (#5), NY:10 (#1,2,12,15,20), PA:14 (#1,2,3,5,6,10)
18th MD:2 (#5), NY:7 (#3,20,26), PA:14 (#4,7,8,9,11,16)
23rd NY:12 (#3,8,17,22,23), PA:5 (#2,4)
24th MD:2 (#4), NY:12 (#3,8,17,22,23), PA:5 (#2,4)

See alsoEdit

Theory and principles
Compatible with
  • Block voting, a vote/ballot for multiple members to be returned, usually on a first-past-the-post plurality basis
  • First-past-the-post, a vote/ballot for one member to be returned, on a plurality basis
    • Multiple ballots, one per designated seat, using system above
  • Proportional representation, any voting system which seeks to result in representation in proportion to the number of respective votes cast in an election, or multi-member district, overall
  • General ticket – the return of a single winning party or team's candidates for a set of electoral districts, or for each multi-member district which uses it
  • Representation at-large – a representative/territory being undivided for every purpose as to a representative body. The most populous at large districts/regions tend to be multi-member


  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1982). The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.

External linksEdit