The following are the election results (source):

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The footnote reads:

  1. New Hampshire was entitled to four seats in the 29th Congress (1845–1847), but only elected three representatives. Woodbury did not receive the necessary number of votes to be elected in the 1845 at-large election, and no winner was subsequently chosen in a special election. (See New Hampshire, 1846.) So the fourth seat remained vacant for the entire Congress.

Can someone explain to me how exactly this worked? In particular, how many votes would Woodbury have needed to have been elected?

  • I found a reference which said that this was the last election where NH elected all its representatives "at large", and one that blamed Hale's 7000 votes, but nothing explaining why there would even be be a cutoff for the fourth seat.
    – Bobson
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 12:24
  • 4
    It's entirely soothsaying, but the results listed are compatible with plurality at large voting coupled with a 50% requirement to be elected. If that's the case, each voter would have 4 votes and the cut off would be 22,360 votes.
    – origimbo
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 12:26

1 Answer 1


It's my understanding that at the time Congressional seats were not divided up by districts, but rather everyone in the state cast votes for all seats up for election. With this being the case only 3 of the candidates running received a majority # of votes, which is required to actually win a seat. The other remaining 9 candidates spread the votes out sufficiently to prevent Woodbury from securing 51% of the vote. It's unclear why there would not be a runoff election to fill the 4th seat.

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