Valley News – NH court issues redistricting map that moves 5 cities

Editor’s Note: This story was first published on New Hampshire Bulletin.

CONCORD — The New Hampshire Supreme Court on Friday released maps of the congressional district drawn by appointed “special tutor,” Stanford law professor Nathaniel Persily, a day after the legislature failed to produce one viable before the legislative deadline.

The court on Thursday denied a motion to dismiss the plan filed by Senate Speaker Chuck Morse of Salem and House Speaker Sherman Packard of Londonderry, both Republicans.

The map, which would establish electoral districts for the next 10 years if enacted, moves five towns from the 1st district to the 2nd district in order to equalize the population between the two. The five cities are Albany, Campton, Jackson, New Hampton and Sandwich.

The map was drawn using what is known as the “least change” method, with the aim of minimizing changes in districts that have been in effect over the past 10 years while meeting equal population needs. . According to this map, the 1st arrondissement has 688,764 inhabitants and the 2nd 688,765 inhabitants, a difference of only one person.

The legislature is tasked with redrawing the state’s electoral districts every 10 years, but the state faces a lawsuit asking the court to intervene, citing an apparent legislative deadlock. The state must have districts settled by June 1, the first day of the filing period for the September primary.

On Thursday, Republican lawmakers passed their latest attempted card, SB 200, which the governor immediately vowed to veto.

“Citizens of New Hampshire will not accept this card, which moves both members of Congress to the same district,” Sununu said in a statement. “Our races have to be fair, which is why I will veto this card.”

This veto would leave no map proposed by the legislature standing, a situation in which the court said it would intervene.

“Because a congressional district plan for New Hampshire has not yet been validly enacted, the development and submission of the special master plan for court review has become necessary,” Persily wrote in his plan. Friday.

House Republicans spoke out against the governor’s veto and the court’s involvement.

“From the beginning, the House has been willing to work with the governor on this constitutionally required process. For some reason still eludes us, the governor has repeatedly decided not to participate in good faith despite our multiple requests for cooperation,” Rep. Ross Berry, a Republican from Manchester, said in a statement. “Trying to adapt to all the changes and His Excellency’s demands was exhausting.

“(The governor) will now be solely responsible for bypassing the elected representatives of the people and sending this process to unelected court-appointed bureaucrats who are not accountable to the people,” he said.

The New Hampshire American Civil Liberties Union, however, celebrated the veto as a victory for New Hampshire voters.

“We thank Governor Sununu for his promise to veto the map, which is gerrymandered, unfair and designed to cheat the system for the next 10 years. Along with the veto promised by Governor Sununu, the recent opinion of the NH Supreme Court ensures that New Hampshire residents will indeed have a fair Congressional card,” said Devon Chaffee, Executive Director.

“Every voice in Granite State should be heard equally in our elections, and it should be the voters themselves who choose their politicians — not the other way around,” she said.

Oral arguments on the court’s proposed card are scheduled for Tuesday at 9 a.m.

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