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The United States: the Past — Moving from Diversity to Uniform Single-Member Districts

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Abstract

The legal structure governing modern presidential and congressional elections in the United States was formed in the first decades of its political history. While the use of plurality rule or ‘winner-take-all’ elections in selecting presidential electors and single-member districts in House elections are now the universal norm, this was not the case during the first fifty years of US history. States varied widely in the mode of selecting both presidential electors and members of the House of Representatives. In this chapter, I examine the initial rules structuring federal elections, and the political reforms that led to the basic system that has governed federal elections since the 1840s. The story is one of diversity in electoral laws giving way to uniformity.

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9780230522749_7
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Further reading

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  • Engstrom, Erik (2003) Strategic Redistricting and American Electoral Development. PhD dissertation, University of California, San Diego.

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© 2004 Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited

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Engstrom, E.J. (2004). The United States: the Past — Moving from Diversity to Uniform Single-Member Districts. In: Colomer, J.M. (eds) The Handbook of Electoral System Choice. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230522749_7

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