New Hampshire
Congressional BoundariesDrawn by legislature
State BoundariesDrawn by legislature
Governor's PartyRepublican
Legislative PartyRepublican

Census-related Redistricting Timeline Delays

State Legislative

Alert:
Elevated

Congressional

Alert:
Low

Process

State Legislature

New Hampshire's state legislative and congressional districts are drawn by the Legislature by ordinary statute, and are subject to the governor's veto. The Legislature can override vetoes with a two-thirds vote in each chamber.

Criteria

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, New Hampshire’s state constitution (2nd §§ 11, 26) requires that state legislative districts be contiguous and preserve political subdivisions. There are no state law requirements for drawing congressional districts.

Public Input

While New Hampshire law does not require public hearings, the legislative redistricting committee held ten hearings in October 2011. It is likely that there will be similar opportunities for public input in 2021.

2011 Cycle

In the 2011 cycle, five lawsuits against state House districts over division of municipalities were consolidated before the state Supreme Court, which dismissed them all. The Court found that the splitting of townships was justified for the purpose of achieving smaller population deviations.

Issues

Pitfalls

Following the 2020 elections, New Hampshire's state government is under a Republican trifecta. Single-party control increases the risk of partisan gerrymandering. Moreover, Governor Sununu, who was reelected to a third term, has demonstrated resistance to redistricting reform and fair maps in the past.

Potential Reform

After passing the Senate with a 15-9 vote on June 29, 2020, House Bill 1665 went to the desk of Governor Sununu. Unfortunately, Gov. Sununu vetoed the bill. The bill would create a 15-member advisory commission, establish ranked redistricting criteria, and set public input rules. While HB1665 passed both chambers, it did not reach a veto-proof majority, which may prove fatal.

In 2019, Governor Sununu vetoed a similar redistricting reform bill, HB706, which would have created a 15-member independent redistricting commission and passed the Legislature with bipartisan support. An attempt at overriding the veto failed in September.

Actions

In 2021, participate in the Legislature’s public input process.

  • Obtain New Hampshire redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.
  • Start to plan out what defines your community – whether it’s a shared economic interest, school districts, or other social or other cultural, historical, or economic interests – and how that can be represented on a map. This will come in handy once the Legislature starts collecting feedback.
  • Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.

Contacts

Rights and Democracy

League of Women Voters of New Hampshire

Sources

All About Redistricting

NCSL

Ballotpedia