Redistricting Forum 2021 Actions
Now is the time to use your knowledge of redistricting to educate others. You don't have to be an expert, but as a concerned citizen, you should not only raise your voice, but help direct others to learn and to raise their voices as well.
It is critical that we get voters from around the state to understand how this wonky subject of redistricting affects the decisions that are made in their town, their state and their nation. By helping in your community, and better yet, be a member of a working group or team applying focused energy, we can pressure our legislators for fair, nonpartisan and transparent redistricting. We welcome your individual energy, but as part of a group that is interconnected with others, it makes our statewide efforts more effective.
Action #1 - Volunteer for an organization working for fair redistricting
Volunteering to help fight redistricting will put your new knowledge to good use. The public is only somewhat engaged. To win this fight, the general public needs to first have an understanding of how fair redistricting affects them, and know what steps to take to make their voice heard.
Action #2 -National Day of Action April 29
April 29, 2021 is the League of Women Voters National Day of Action, which a time to help bring the importance of fair redistricting to the public's attention. Here are some ideas to do in your community:
- Share the National Day of Action graphic at right in your social media channels.
- Write a letter to the editor, timed to be in the paper a few days before April 29, calling for a fair, nonpartisan redistricting process in the NH House Special Committee on Redistricting, and asking citizens to contact their legislators. Here are some sample emails, but please make the letter authentically from you. Check out this tool from the NH Sierra Club to assist you on the requirements and newspaper emails. Don't forget your local town newsletters, Facebook groups and email lists.
- Hold signs or staff a table in front of your town hall, at the transfer station or at a fair, and distribute information on how to contact your state representatives, and a sample letter to share with citizens asking legislators to support to support a fair, nonpartisan and transparent process. Remember, our job is to make it easy for people to take action. Let the local media know you're going to be there.
Action #3 - Support the NH Resolution for Fair Nonpartisan Redistricting in your town
COVID delayed many town meetings this year, and scores of them are scheduled for April, May & June. The NH Resolution for Fair Nonpartisan Redistricting has already passed in 45 towns, and may be in your town soon. See our master list If the NH Resolution is on your town meeting warrant this spring, support it:
- Go to town meeting and speak to it, and vote for it!
- Write a letter to the editor asking the community to support it See some sample LTEs
- Post some of our NH Resolution graphics in a town Facebook group and on your own page
My town doesn't have a NH Resolution on the Warrant. What can I do?
Using the NH Resolution for Fair Nonpartisan Redistricting as a template (not as a warrant article petition) start a petition drive by setting up a table farmers markets, in front of town hall, at the transfer station or a festival. Collect signatures of as many citizens as possible, make copies, then send copies to each of your state reps and your senator. Sample resolutions If you have questions on how to do this, contact Brian Beihl
Action #4 - Is Your Town Eligible for its Own NH House District?
If your town has 3,291 residents (using 2010 Census numbers), it's eligible for its own NH House district according to the NH Constitution. In 2011, of 152 eligible towns, 62 towns did not receive their own House district.
First, verify the status of your town by going to this Google Sheet (Awaiting some info from the state). Is your town big enough? Does it have its own NH House District already? The Special Committee on Redistricting is responsible for this, and a recent exercise by an Open Democracy Team member has demonstrated that it not only was possible, but that not doing so was intentional. When a town is eligible and does not have a district, it cheats the town out of a voice in the legislature who will be representing just the interests of that town.
To fix this for your community:
- Write a letter to the editor to your local town newsletters and papers about your town's status, and ask publicly WHY this was not done, and what town leaders are doing to fix it. How to submit a letter
- Go to a Selectboard meeting, explain the situation (which they might even know about) and ask them to write an official letter of inquiry to the Special Committee on Redistricting, and ask to testify if it's possible.
- Use town Facebook or email groups to bring the issue up and organize town support
- Speak to local reporters about this issue
- Get your town's citizens to write to the Special Committee on Redistricting
- Is one of the members on the Special Committee on Redistricting from your town? You have more influence than the average citizen, and use that to contact, and maintain a conversation, with that representative.
If we can get the Special Committee to do its proper job and create these districts, gerrymandering becomes much more difficult, at least for NH House Districts.
Action #5 - My Town Has its Own House District, What Else Can I Do?
- Write open letters (letters to the editor) to your state representatives & senator asking why they have not spoken out about fair redistricting, and if applicable, why they haven't lobbied for a House district for the towns in their district. How to submit a letter
- Write a personal letter/email to your state rep to support fair redistricting Who is my rep?
- Write to the Special Committee on Redistricting as a citizen and demand fair districts because representation should be fair for all towns, not just some.
Action #6 - Support H.R. 1 / S. 1 The For the People Act
The "For the People Act" is the most significant democracy reform package in our lifetimes. The U.S. House version, H.R. 1, has passed. The Senate version, S. 1, is bogged down by Senate rules. One of the provisions of the For the People Act is implementing an independent redistricting commission for drawing Congressional districts. While this only applies to CD1 & CD2, it will demonstrate the effectiveness of a independent commission, and may pave the way for a commission for state districts, too.
- Please call your Senators and ask them to "Do what it takes" do get the For the People Act passed. And call your friends, both here in NH and across the country, to call their Senators, and tell them the provisions you like best, and ask them to vote for the For the People Act.
- We've created some For the People Act graphics to share via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can share from Open Democracy Action's Facebook page, or copy and past the posts below.
Word has it that in one redistricting cycle, the sitting NH Congressmen personally negotiated the lines of the Congressional Districts--Politicians picking their voters, not voters picking their politicians. The #HR1 #S1 #ForthePeopleAct would do it fairly.
Many people can't spare earnings from their paycheck to vote. #HR1 / #S1 For the People Act helps hardworking Americans to make sure their voice is heard in our country's policy decisions, and makes sure billionaires aren't making decisions for us. #NHPolitics
Ever wonder who is behind the awful ads - like the ones being run against #HR1 and #S1? The For the People Act would require those bad actors to disclose WHO is behind them. #NHPolitics. Learn more https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/policy-solutions/congress-must-pass-people-act
The #HR1 #S1 For the People Act will protect our freedom to vote by making sure that voting options are equally accessible across all 50 states, make sure our voices are heard. #NHPolitics Learn more: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/policy-solutions/congress-must-pass-people-act
#HR1 & #S1 For the People Act proposes something NH already has, Same Day Registration, which NH has done for years without issues. This helps makes voting accessible to all Granite Staters. In fact, @GovChrisSununu calls NH's election system the "gold standard." #NHPolitics
Think of the scandals we've seen in the last few years: Insider trading; self-dealing to profit from legislation; bribery; quid pro quo. #HR1 / #S1 #ForthePeopleAct strengthens ethics rules in all branches of the federal government, including SCOTUS and White House.
Action #7 - Put Yourself on the Map
We're assembling a team of citizens who want to create fair maps to show the NH public what fair maps ACTUALLY LOOK LIKE! Called the Live Free, Map Fair project, we need both technical and policy volunteers to hash out our fair maps, then get them into the hands of policy members and the press. What you've learned today is just the start. This will be a hands on, on-the-job training for one of the most important volunteer positions you've ever done!
- Participate in the Map-A-Thon on May 18, 2021, 6-8 p.m to learn more about the software and the process, and begin having input on fair maps.
- Volunteer as a technical member, using your knowledge of spreadsheets, databases, geography, GIS software and other tech tools to help draw our maps
- Volunteers as a policy member, helping to identify communities of interest, conduct a Community of Interest Survey, and negotiate some of the compromises and challenges we'll face due to geography, communities of interest, and other factors.
Our maps will be distributed to legislators, town officials, the press, and to the Special Committee on Redistricting itself to draw a comparison with the unfortunately less-than-fair maps we expect from the Special Committee on Redistricting.
Action #8 What are YOUR ideas?
We've given you some ideas to move fair, nonpartisan redistricting forward. What are your creative ideas? Send them to us, because your great idea could be the one which helps make our 2021 voting districts fair, nonpartisan and transparent.