Single Member Districts? Harrison County is One of Only Two Districts with Four Delegates

By Local News | November 26, 2017 from Internal Affairs
By Hoppy Kercheval.  West Virginia continues to be an outlier on how House of Delegates districts are determined.  Forty-seven of the 67 districts are single-member—one delegate per district.  Eleven districts have two members, six districts have three, two districts have four and one district has five.
It makes no sense, and is an oddity when compared with other states.  Former West Virginia Democratic Party Chairman George Carenbauer has studied the redistricting issue for years.  He reports that West Virginia is one of only three states—the others are Maryland and New Hampshire—that have districts with more than two members.
Only two states have more than three members in a district—West Virginia and New Hampshire—but New Hampshire has 400 members in its House, while West Virginia has 100.
As Carenbauer has argued, single-member districts make for better government.  The districts are smaller so the representative is closer to the electorate. In multi-member districts, it’s less clear who represents the voters.
Single-member districts simplify voting.  It’s confusing now when voters are asked to vote for more than one candidate.  Also, poor candidates and marginal incumbents can “hide” in multi-member districts since they only have to be among the top vote getters.
Our political system is geared toward candidates running against each other, but that doesn’t happen in multi-member districts.  It’s a cattle call that rewards name recognition and makes it nearly impossible for an individual candidate to challenge a specific opponent.
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