by Karl Kurtz
The Nevada Senate has eliminated the use of multimember districts (MMDs) in the new redistricting cycle, but the total number of MMDs has increased slightly, according to a recent compilation by my colleague, Morgan Cullen. Here is the lineup of legislatures with MMDs for the next decade:
Nevada's elimination of its two multimember districts in the Senate reduces the number of states with at least one MMD from 11 in the new redistricting cycle compared to 10 in the previous decade. But the total number of MMDs in the nation increased by five from 464 to 469. The increases were all in the New Hampshire (7) and Vermont (4) houses of representatives. This slight increase arrests (it would be hard to say reverses) a decades-long decline in the use of multimember districts in state legislatures.
Maryland, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia are the only states that mix single member districts in some parts of the state with MMDs in other areas. The other states all have uniform two-member house districts, usually nested inside of a senate district. (In South Dakota's case, two out of 35 house seats have single member districts to comply with the Voting Rights Act and allow for representation of Native Americans; the remaining 33 seats are two-member districts.
The largest number of members in a house district is 11 in New Hampshire and in a senate district it's six in Vermont.