Letter: Constitutional redistricting

Published: 4/3/2019 12:01:10 AM

It’s important to clear up some misunderstandings of N.H. law regarding the independent redistricting commission bill, House Bill 706.

The legal setting is this: the U.S. Constitution requires a census of the United States to be taken by the federal government every 10 years. After that, electoral districts in the states are modified to reflect changes in population. The aim is to make representation of the people in federal and state legislative bodies fair. The redistricting is carried out according to state law. The N.H. Constitution provides that “the Legislature shall make an apportionment of representatives.”

HB 706 is constitutional. It provides for an independent redistricting commission to draw district boundaries and to submit them to the Legislature. The Legislature must carry out its constitutional duty to make the apportionment of representatives. It can agree or disagree with the independent redistricting commission’s proposal. It can also come up with a different proposal.

State legislators and senators are being told, incorrectly, that HB 706 is not constitutional. They have only to read HB 706 to satisfy themselves that HB 706 satisfies the N.H. Constitution’s provisions.

With an independent redistricting commission, electoral districts cannot be manipulated to favor the party in power. The temptations of the party in power to draw districts so as to favor that party for the next 10 years will be removed. Rather, electoral districts will be drawn fairly and in a nonpartisan way.

Which legislators want to go down in history as voting against an independent redistricting commission for New Hampshire?




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