Letter: Gerrymandering damages democracy

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Gerrymandering – the practice of drawing political district lines giving advantage to the party in power – disenfranchises voters so that our constitutional standard of one person, one vote is damaged. Clear evidence of this was presented at the recent “Citizen Action Against Gerrymandering Forum,” which was sponsored by the Capital Coalition, Open Democracy, N.H. Progress Alliance, America Votes N.H. and Granite State Progress. National and state gerrymandering experts spoke with a crowd of more than 200 attendants. This forum was informative and interactive, presenting data that gerrymandering negatively impacts New Hampshire and our democracy.

Every 10 years, after the census, the majority party in the House and Senate get to manipulate the district lines to favor their party. After the 2010 elections, the districts were redrawn to pack Democrats into a few districts so that the majority of the districts were assured a Republican victory. The allocation of legislative seats therefore does not reflect the popular vote.

In the 2016 N.H. Senate race, the Republicans’ margin of victory was less than 1 percent but they picked up 60 percent of the 24 Senate seats. The Executive Council district lines consistently favor a Republican majority on the Executive Council.

Multiple proposals to devise a fair, nonpartisan approach to redistricting, including using computer algorithm modeling and an independent commission, have been presented. Sadly, they were voted down along party lines.

Please speak out and demand a fair, nonpartisan districting system that values the foundation of our democracy and assures that each person’s vote counts.