Of all the newsworthy turmoil that has garnered state and national attention recently, it is urgent we turn our attention to a lesser-followed, but timely issue — the census results and subsequent redistricting.
Every 10 years, following the census, New Hampshire divides the population into voting districts for the N.H. House and Senate, the Executive Council, county commission and U.S. House. These districts can be drawn fairly, where the votes of all voters are given equal weight, or, as was the case in 2011, these maps can be drawn to favor one party or another.
Voters choose their politicians, politicians shouldn’t choose their voters. When redistricting maps are drawn to favor one party or another and politicians effectively choose their voters, it is called gerrymandering.
In 2011, the New Hampshire redistricting process was heavily gerrymandered for several districts, including Executive Council District 2 and several state Senate and House districts. A “bipartisan” special committee, tasked with creating fair maps, instead created maps in private, with a software program that was never publicly scrutinized, and without adequate opportunity for public input. Voters pick their politicians, not the other way around. We do not want a repeat of 2011 in 2021.
Two bills were put forth recently, in 2019 and 2020, for an independent redistricting commission that would draw fair voting districts. Both bills passed, but were vetoed.
The N.H. House is about to embark on a redistricting process for the next 10 years without a fair independent redistricting commission. Everyone’s vote deserves to be equally heard, and that is why the N.H. Resolution for Fair Nonpartisan Redistricting has come forth in 103 New Hampshire towns to head off any further gerrymandering.
Please support the N.H. Resolution for Fair Nonpartisan Redistricting in your town. Additionally, call or write your state representatives and demand that our redistricting process be fair, nonpartisan and transparent.