Letter: If you want fairness in elections, end gerrymandering

Published: 4/15/2019 12:01:23 AM

In his recent column (Monitor Opinion, April 6), Rep. Howard Pearl blames Republican losses in a few close races on “election shenanigans” by N.H. Democrats. He revives the discredited allegation that “voter fraud” was at play, even though an exhaustive 2018 investigation by the Attorney General’s Office found no evidence that this was so.

If Pearl opposes political shenanigans that unfairly throw elections, then I hope he’ll support House Bill 706. It would end gerrymandering – the practice of drawing electoral maps that intentionally favor one party over the other. For instance, Executive Council District 2 runs from Keene to Portsmouth, cramming as many Democrats as possible into a single district, so that Republican candidates in other districts have a better chance of winning elections.

HB 706 would establish a 15-member redistricting commission made up of five Democrats, five Republicans and five independents, chosen from a pool of 45 applicants. The bill strives to ensure that district lines are drawn in a fair, nonpartisan manner, so that every vote counts equally.

HB 706 had strong bipartisan support in the House Election Law Committee, which studied it extensively, amended it and voted unanimously in favor of it. Republican leadership opposes it, however, saying the commission usurps the Legislature’s constitutional duty to draw district lines. But that explanation doesn’t fly; the bill gives the Legislature ultimate decision-making power.

If you believe voters should choose their legislators instead of the other way around, please urge your legislators to support HB 706.




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