At the annual meeting of the Republican State Committee, Party Chair Stephen Stepanek said that having Republican majorities in the New Hampshire Legislature means they control redistricting. He said, “I can stand here today and guarantee you that we will send a conservative Republican to Washington, D.C., as a Congressperson in 2022.”
Mr. Stepanek is stating in plain sight that New Hampshire voting districts based on the 2020 U.S. Census will be drawn to favor his party. That’s gerrymandering, and it means that every vote cast will not carry equal weight.
In 2011, district maps were drawn behind closed doors by three Republican representatives. The representatives who went to public meetings around the state had no plan to explain the process and no maps to show. When maps finally were released, legislators had one week to review them, and members of the public had 24 hours. Essentially, they were a done deal.
One of the most blatant examples of gerrymandering in these maps is Executive Council District 2, which extends from Dover on the Seacoast to Charlestown on the Connecticut River.
The redistricting process in 2021 must be transparent, with public input. While districts are essentially based on population, they must also be contiguous, compact and based on communities of interest. They should not be drawn to favor any political party or candidate.
Mr. Stepanek should not be able to guarantee the outcome of an election based on the lines establishing the voting districts of New Hampshire.
LINDA OLSON BUNDY