We need you to contact your Nashua Aldermen and Alderwomen about the passing Nashua's version of the NH Resolution for Fair Nonpartisan Redistricting.
Here is a link to a PDF of the resolution being proposed by Alderwoman Jan Schmidt: Nashua Resolution Our thanks to Alderwoman Schmidt for bringing this forward.
Speak or Submit Written Testimony
Two meeting dates are coming up, if you wish to attend or speak to support the resolution. It appears that Nashua does TV broadcasts of the meetings, but not Zoom or online interactive access.
Monday, April 5, 2021, 7 p.m.: Speak, or submit written testimony, to June M. Caron, Chair, Personnel/Administrative Affairs Committee (If you wish to speak the mic will be open after the opening (best time) and at closing (still fine)
Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 7:30 p.m.: Comes before the full Board of Aldermen, speak or submit written testimony to Donna L. Graham, Legislative Affairs Manager. (Best time to speak is at the beginning)
Send an Email to Committee Members
Here is sample language for your email, but please use this as a guide and make the email authentically from you. We suggest you email your alderman/woman, plus the members of the Personnel/Administrative Affairs Committee.
Dear Alderman/woman _____________:
I just heard that the Board of Alderman will be hearing a resolution supporting fair nonpartisan and transparent redistricting. Versions of the NH Resolution for Fair Nonpartisan Redistricting have now passed in 44 towns, including the cities of Lebanon, Keene, Franklin, Dover and Durham.
I think this is important because even though the City of Nashua does fair ward districts, the state's track record for fair voting maps isn't as commendable. There seems to be something about going to serve in Concord that makes our leaders sometimes forget that they work for the people, not the parties. I'm one voter who thinks that we need a level playing field for this, so that voters can vote and know that the system isn't rigged for one party or the other.
Please commit the City of Nashua to drawing its own fair districts, and make sure our state legislators and the Special Committee on Redistricting are put on notice, too.
Thank you for your service to our city!
Other talking points:
- This is a NONPARTISAN resolution that has passed in Red towns and Blue towns
- Partisan data should not be used to manipulate the voting maps
- When voting districts are manipulated, the voters don't get the representation that they should for their area
- Voters in gerrymandered districts get frustrated and apathetic, and give up on voting, because it doesn't matter
- Voting districts should be compact, have "communities of interest" like school districts, neighborhoods, or economies
- Some of our elected officials say there isn't any gerrymandering, but not all gerrymandering has squiggly lines! Look at Hudson, 24,000 population & Pelham, 13,000 population, combined in one district, but each should have its own representatives.
- All the voters want -- of any party or independent -- is a fair, nonpartisan and transparent process.
Nashua Board of Aldermen, as of March 2021
* = Members of the Personnel/Administrative Affairs Committee, where Nashua's Resolution for Fair Nonpartisan Redistricting will be heard.
*JUNE M. CARON, Ward 7, [email protected]
*BEN CLEMONS , Alderman at Large, [email protected]
RICHARD A. DOWD , Ward 2, [email protected]
LINDA HARRIOTT-GATHRIGHT, Ward 9, [email protected]
ELIZABETH LU, Ward 6, [email protected]
ERNEST A. JETTE , Ward 5, [email protected]
*SHOSHANNA KELLY , Alderwoman at Large, [email protected]
PATRICIA KLEE, Ward 3, [email protected]
BRANDON MICHAEL LAWS, Alderman at Large, [email protected]
*THOMAS LOPEZ , Ward 4, [email protected]
MICHAEL B. O'BRIEN, SR , VP Board of Aldermen, [email protected]
*SKIP CLEAVER , Ward 8, [email protected]
JAN SCHMIDT , Ward 1, [email protected] ****Sponsor of the NH Resolution for Fair Nonpartisan Redistricting****
DAVID C. TENCZA , Alderman at Large, [email protected]
LORI WILSHIRE, President, Board of Aldermen, [email protected]
Thank you for visiting to learn more about New Hampshire's redistricting process, and the NH Resolution for Fair Nonpartisan Redistricting.
The Basics of Redistricting & Gerrymandering
In short, redistricting is an every-ten-year process that takes the U.S. Census data, and reapportions the population into more-or-less equal voting districts for state elected positions like the Executive Council, State Senate, and State House. It also includes the two U.S. House of Representatives seats for NH, as well as for county commissioner.
By current state law, the NH House is responsible for most of the redistricting, with the NH Senate doing the Congressional districts. The process is supposed to be fair, nonpartisan, and transparent to the public. Fair voting districts are geographic areas of close to equal population. Voters in those districts should have something in common, such as a school district, perhaps a lake, or a common economy. Our legislature appoints a "special committee" which reflects the percentage of legislators that each party got elected. That committee draws the voting maps, has public hearings and submits them to the full legislature for a vote.
Voting maps should NOT be drawn on the basis or race, religion, ethnicity or political party, or between areas which have nothing in common, or perhaps competing interests. When maps are drawn using this data are often are manipulated to cheat, and control the outcome of elections for the party in charge at the time. The graphic at right shows how this is done, called "gerrymandering."
What Happened in 2011
In 2011, a legislature hostile to fair, nonpartisan redistricting drafted new voting districts which gerrymandered dozens of NH towns, as detailed in the articles below. The Special Committee had no real part in the process; the maps were in fact drawn by a small group of legislators out of the sight of the public, using a software that was kept hidden from the public and even Democratic members of the committee. When public hearings were held around the state, there were no maps shown to the public or most state legislators. When state rep district maps were finally available, the NH House had only one week to review them, and the public only had 24 hours! There was little transparency in the process.
- Concord Monitor, Dec. 15, 2011: Politics-Election Redistricting plan unveiled
- New Hampshire Public Radio, June 7, 2017: How Gerrymandering Skewed the 2016 Elections
- NH Union Leader- Coming soon
- NH Supreme Court: Brief by NH Senator David Pierce
- League of Women Voters in the NH Union Leader: NH Voices: Liz Tentarelli -- Learning from the past
Gerrymandering Could Get Worse in 2021
In 2021, there's a very good chance that this gerrymandering could get worse, not better, unless voters speak up and make sure that legislators know that the voters demand a FAIR, NONPARTISAN and TRANSPARENT process. Without the proposed permanent solution of an "independent redistricting commission," which passed the legislature with bipartisan votes but was vetoed twice, we again are depending on the good consciences of our state legislators.
Passing the NH Resolution for Fair Nonpartisan Redistricting
While we would prefer to push for a permanent independent redistricting commission, that is unlikely to happen in time for the 2021 redistricting. So instead we are passing the NH Resolution for Fair, Nonpartisan Redistricting in as many towns as possible.
Between Dec 2020 and early February 2021, volunteers working with Open Democracy and other organizations around the state will be proposing "petitioned warrant articles" in 100 town-meeting & SB 2 towns around the state. In cities, volunteers will be working with city councils and boards of aldermen. In both types of government, we will be asking for a non-binding resolution to be sent to our state elected officials. We're asking a town's voters to:
- Demand fairness and transparency in the process of drawing new maps
- Require that maps be drawn with no favoritism to one party or the other
- Make sure that the mapping process happens in public meetings
- That towns of 3300 citizens or larger be given their own state representative districts, rather than being split with other towns.
- And that the board of selectmen from that town communicate in writing the wishes of the town to the State and Federal delegations.
We have more details on our Town Meeting "How-To" page, or if you live in a city or a town with a town council, our Council Resolution page, but this initiative is designed to use our local town warrants to inform local voters on the evils of gerrymandering, and pressure our legislature to put party politics aside and create nonpartisan voting districts for state representative, NH senator, executive council, and U.S. Congress. The voters want fairness, but politicians want power. As a voter, it should be YOU calling the shots!
If you have further questions about the NH Resolution for Fair Nonpartisan Redistricting in your town, or want to pass a resolution in your town, contact Open Democracy's deputy director, Brian Beihl, for more information.Sign up