WHAT MAKES MAP-A-THON'S NH VOTING DISTRICT MAPS FAIR
In New Hampshire, our Constitution is vague as to how new voting districts should be apportioned every 10 years, as the U.S. Constitution stipulates. Unlike other states with independent, nonpartisan commissions drawing the lines, committees are formed by the NH Speaker of the House and the NH President of the Senate. These committees reflect the partisan makeup of the whole body, which in the House in 2021 is 8 Republicans and 7 Democrats. In 2011, this process was done largely behind closed doors by the majority, with little input from either Republican or Democrat members, and what input was given by the public was ignored. As a result, Executive Council, Senate and House districts were all manipulated for partisan purposes.
In 2021, the Map-a-Thon has involved over 200 citizens from all over the state.
During Map-a-Thon I through III, the volunteers in the Map-a-Thon facilitated acquiring "Communities of Interest" data from towns around NH, then prioritized those communities of interest to guide the smaller mapping and tech team comprised of engineers, database specialists and GIS mapping experts.
In preparation for mapping, the mapping and tech team took the process further by learning the U.S. and NH Constitutional requirements, the NH Supreme Court Law, and the statute and non-statute requirements and customs. The NH Constitutional requirements, a 2006 amendment, the large number number or reps and other factors make meeting the Constitutional mandates for the NH House make it particularly difficult. However, Map-a-Thon volunteers have made significant advances without gerrymandering, in stark contrast to past efforts of the Special Committee on Redistricting.
Before you review the maps
There are a few things for you to know about the challenges of drawing voting district maps in New Hampshire. Some of these challenges have also been used to hide manipulation of districts for partisan advantage, so Granite Staters should understand how the process works.
- Check out our Fair Redistricting Workshop on YouTube, featuring Yurij Rudensky of the Brennan Center, one of the nation's leading authorities in a fair redistricting process. You'll learn about the building blocks of fair, nonpartisan redistricting.
- The NH House Special Committee on Redistricting website - Contains the limited documentation made public in 2011, and the NH Supreme Court ruling. It does not provide insight into the proprietary software that the Special Committee will be using for NH House Districts. Notably, this website does not include the criteria being used for the 2020 maps.
- The NH Constitution, part 2, Article 9 & 11 and 2006 Constitutional amendment "Amended November 7, 2006 to enable towns with sufficient population to have their own representative district and permits the use of floterial districts." The sufficient population number in 2010 was 3,291, and in 2020 was 3,444. In 2011, 152 towns were eligible, but 62 of those towns did not receive their own House District, violating the Constitution as amended.
- The NH Supreme Court's 2002 Ruling on the "Aggregate Method" vs. the "Component Method" of Calculating Floterial Districts -- The NH Supreme Court took issue with the traditional method of residual population and recommended the "Component Method" to better allocate representation in floterial districts. In combination with the 2006 NH Constitutional Amendment, using this method to calculate floterial districts, limited the number of towns which could mathematically receive their own regular House district.
See the Map-a-Thon's Citizen-Drawn Voting Maps for NH