Additionally, in most US states, electoral districts for seats in the upper house or Senate were ostensibly created at least partially on the basis of geography, rather than population. Whereas lower house seats might or might not be reapportioned on a decennial basis, such as those of the US House of Representatives, in most states, state senate district boundaries were never redrawn. As the United States became more urban, this led to the dilution of the votes of urban voters when casting ballots for state senate seats. A city dweller's vote had less influence on the make-up of the state legislature than did a rural inhabitant's.
The term "One Man, One Vote" (or alternatively "One Person, One Vote") was traditionally used in the context of demands for suffrage reform. When the Westminster Parliament was originally founded the emphasis was on representing areas - counties, boroughs and, later on, universities. The entitlement to vote for the Members of Parliament representing the constituencies varied widely, with different qualifications such as owning property of a certain value, holding an apprenticeship, qualifying for paying the local-government rates, or holding a degree from the university in question. Those who qualified for the vote in more than one constituency were entitled to vote in each constituency, whilst many adults did not qualify for the vote at all. Plural voting was also present in local government, whereby the owners of business property qualified for votes in the relevant wards.
Over time reformers argued that Members of Parliament and other elected officials should represent citizens equally, and that each voter should only be entitled to exercise the vote once in an election. Successive Reform Acts both extended the franchise eventually to almost all adult citizens (barring convicts, lunatics and members of the House of Lords) and also reduced and finally eliminated most of the plural voting by 1950 for both Westminster and local-government elections. However there were two significant exceptions.
The City of London had never expanded its boundaries and with many residential dwellings being replaced by businesses and the impact of The Blitz there were barely five thousand residents in the entirety of the country's financial district after the Second World War. The system of plural voting was retained for electing the City of London Corporation with some modifications.
When Northern Ireland came into being, it adopted the same political system which was in place at that time for the Westminster Parliament and British local government. However the Parliament of Northern Ireland did not follow Westminster in changes to the franchise, with the result that into the 1960s property plural voting still existed for both Parliament and local government. There has been much debate as to what extent the franchise for local government contributed to Unionist electoral success in controlling councils in Nationalist majority areas. When the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association came into being in 1967, it had five primary demands. An additional demand which became just as important was that every citizen in Northern Ireland be afforded the same number of votes for elections. The slogan "One Man, One Vote" became a rallying cry for the campaign.
Along with four of the five primary demands, the voting system was updated by the Northern Irish parliament and came into effect for the next election which, ironically, took place after the suspension of the Northern Ireland government.