New Hampshire

State website: House Redistricting Committee
2010-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House  « NEW 
2000-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House
Primary governing law: N.H. Const. pt. 2, arts. 9, 11, 26

The Latest

Congress: On April 11, 2012, the state legislature passed SB 202, which was signed on April 23, and precleared on August 14.

State leg.: On March 7, the state legislature passed SB 201 (state Senate districts), which was signed on March 23. The legislature also passed HB 592 (state House districts) on March 7; the bill was vetoed on March 23, but the veto was overridden on March 28. Both plans were precleared on June 1, 2012; on June 19, the state Supreme Court rejected challenges to the state House plan.

On November 15, 2012, the state filed for bailout from section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, on behalf of the ten jurisdictions covered under section 5. On March 1, 2013, bailout was approved.

  • Institution

    Redistricting political control:

    Governor State Senate State House
    Congressional lines D 5 D, 19 R 102 D, 298 R
    (could override veto)
    State legislative lines D 5 D, 19 R 102 D, 298 R
    (could override veto)
    2000 cong. lines D 11 D, 13 R 142 D, 255 R
    2000 state lines D 11 D, 13 R 142 D, 255 R

    New Hampshire's congressional and state legislative lines are drawn by the legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto. The members of the state House committee responsible for redistricting are listed here.


  • Timing

    Census data were delivered to New Hampshire on March 22, 2011.

    New Hampshire state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines, though candidates must file for congressional primary elections by June 15, 2012. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 655: 14]

    The New Hampshire constitution currently requires state legislative lines to be drawn by the end of the legislative session in 2011; that session began on January 5, 2011, and is scheduled to end on June 30, 2011. [N.H. Const. pt. 2, arts. 11, 26] Candidates must file for state legislative primary elections by June 15, 2012. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 655: 14]

    New Hampshire law prohibits redrawing state legislative lines mid-decade, before the next Census, unless the legislature is supplanting a plan drawn by a court; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [N.H. Const. pt. 2, arts. 9, 11; In re Below, 855 A.2d 459 (N.H. 2004)]


  • Public input

    The state House committee responsible for redistricting scheduled public hearings through the end of October. Past materials are archived here.


  • Criteria

    Like all states, New Hampshire must comply with constitutional equal population requirements; the state constitution also asks that state Senate districts be "as nearly equal as may be in population." [N.H. Const. pt. 2, art. 26]

    New Hampshire must also, like all states, abide by section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. In 2012, ten New Hampshire municipalities (Rindge, Millsfield, Pinkhams Grant, Stewartstown, Stratford, Benton, Antrim, Boscawen, Newington, and Unity) were considered "covered jurisdictions" under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, leaving New Hampshire with an obligation to submit redistricting plans to the Department of Justice or to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to ensure that the plans did not discriminate against minority communities in those municipalities. In 2013, New Hampshire was bailed out of coverage under section 5.

    New Hampshire law further requires that state legislative districts be contiguous, and maintain the boundaries of towns, wards, or unincorporated places. For state representative districts, towns or wards near the average population for one or more seats are to constitute whole districts; additional population may be combined in overlapping, or floterial, districts. New Hampshire towns may determine whether they wish to split a multi-member district into multiple single-member districts. [N.H. Const. pt. 2, arts. 11, 11-a, 26; N.H. Rev. Stat. ch. 662-A; Below v. Gardner, 963 A.2d 785 (N.H. 2002); Burling v. Chandler, 804 A.2d 471 (N.H. 2002)]


  • 2010-cycle cases

    New Hampshire v. Holder, No. 1:12-cv-01854 (D.D.C.): a suit in federal court seeking bailout from section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
         - Complaint (Nov. 15, 2012).
         - Proposed consent decree (Dec. 21).
         - Approved consent decree (Mar. 1, 2013).
    The latest: On March 1, 2013, the DC court approved the proposed consent decree, allowing New Hampshire to bail out from under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

    City of Manchester v. Gardner, No. 216-2012-CV-00366 (N.H. Super. Ct., Hillsborough Northern) & No. 2012-0338 (N.H. Sup. Ct.): a challenge in state court to the state House districts, on grounds that the plan improperly allocates representatives to towns under the state constitution.
         - Trial court
              - Petition (Apr. 23, 2012).
              - Motion to dismiss (May 1).
              - Request for interlocutory transfer (May 11).
         - State supreme court
              - Acceptance of transfer and briefing order (May 14).
              - Briefs on standing by:
                   - SoS, intervenor State House (May 17), Manchester (May 21).
                   - Concord, Gilford, Quandt (May 22).
                   - Order finding standing (May 22).
              - Motion for prelim. inj. to delay filing (May 21), order denying motion (May 22).
              - Merits briefs by:
                   - Concord, Gilford, Manchester, Quandt, Wallner, SoS, state House (May 23).
                   - Amicus brief by Dover/Meredith (May 23).
                   - Responses by Concord, Manchester, Wallner, SoS, State House (May 30).
              - Opinion rejecting challenges (June 19).
         - Trial court II
              - Order on remand, dismissing case (Sept. 17).
    The latest: Several cases were consolidated in the state Supreme Court; on June 19, the court rejected the state constitutional challenges to the state legislative plan. The court found that legislative decisions to seek a population deviation of less than 10% rationally justified dividing municipalities, and that the record did not demonstrate other unjustified failures to keep municipalities whole.

  • City of Concord v. Gardner, No. 217-2012-cv-00273 (N.H. Super. Ct., Merrimack): a challenge in state court to the state House districts, on grounds that the plan improperly allocates representatives to towns under the state constitution.
         - Petition (Apr. 24, 2012).
    The latest: The petition for relief was filed on April 24. The case has been consolidated with City of Manchester v. Gardner, above.

    Wallner v. Gardner, No. 216-2012-CV-00380 (N.H. Super. Ct., Hillsborough Northern): a challenge in state court to the state House districts, on grounds that the plan improperly allocates representatives to towns under the state constitution.
         - Petition (Apr. 25, 2012).
    The latest: The petition for relief was filed on April 25. The case has been consolidated with City of Manchester v. Gardner, above.

    Town of Gilford v. Gardner, No. 211-2012-cv-00139 (N.H. Super. Ct., Belknap): a challenge in state court to the state House districts, on grounds that the plan improperly allocates representatives to towns under the state constitution.
         - Petition (Apr. 30, 2012).
    The latest: The petition for relief was apparently filed on April 30. The case has been consolidated with City of Manchester v. Gardner, above.

    Quandt v. Gardner, No. 216-2012-CV-00412 (N.H. Super. Ct., Hillsborough Northern): a challenge in state court to the state House districts, on grounds that the plan improperly allocates representatives to towns under the state constitution.
         - Petition (Apr. 30, 2012).
         - Motion for preliminary injunction (Apr. 30).
    The latest: The petition for relief was apparently filed on April 30. The case has been consolidated with City of Manchester v. Gardner, above.


  • 2000 cycle

    In the 2000 redistricting cycle, the New Hampshire legislature passed a congressional plan that was signed on April 8, 2002, and precleared on June 10, 2002.

    The legislature also passed a state legislative plan on March 21, 2002, but that plan was vetoed by the Governor on March 29, 2002. When the legislature did not pass another plan, the state Supreme Court was asked to draw plans, which it did for the state Senate on June 24, 2002 (amended on July 11, 2002), and for the state House on July 26, 2002. Both plans were precleared on September 5, 2002. [Below v. Gardner, 963 A.2d 785 (N.H. 2002); Burling v. Chandler, 804 A.2d 471 (N.H. 2002)]

    The legislature redrew some of the state Senate lines in a plan signed on May 28, 2004, and some of the state Representative lines in a plan signed on April 5, 2004. Neither modification affected the towns covered under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and so neither modification was sent for preclearance.

    The state legislative plan was challenged in state court, and upheld. [In re Below, 855 A.2d 459 (N.H. 2004); Town of Canaan v. Sec'y of State, 959 A.2d 172 (N.H. 2008)]

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