NH Governor, Groups: Keep Congressional Maps Competitive
Wednesday, February 9, 2022
New Hampshire groups that advocate for voting rights say the state's new congressional district maps are gerrymandered, and will lead to little competition in elections.
Currently, two Democrats represent the Granite State in the U.S. House, but that might change after this year's redistricting process, which is controlled by Republicans; they're in power in both the General Court and governor's office.
The House passed a map last month, but Brian Biehl, deputy director of Open Democracy Action, said it essentially locks in congressional races for the next 10 years.
"All of these groups have identified this as a highly uncompetitive map that is designed to guarantee a Republican in District 1," he said, "and they basically ceded District Two to the Democrats."
Biehl noted that groups from the Princeton Gerrymandering Project to the ACLU have identified the proposal as partisan, and even Gov. Chris Sununu has said he wants a map with more balance. An analysis by the ACLU of New Hampshire found partisan gerrymandering in state House, state Senate and Executive Council maps as well.
Biehl added that a critical part of having maps drawn fairly is giving the public the chance for input at every possible opportunity.
"It's important to note," he said, "that if we get an amendment to the congressional maps, Senate rules don't require an another public hearing, which is very alarming to the public and anyone who cares about democracy."
At a series of hearings last year, he said, people made it clear they wanted new maps with fair district lines. Candidates can start filing for congressional races on June 1, so the voting-district maps must be finalized by then. Primaries are in September, and the general election in November.
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