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Prof. Justin Levitt's Doug Spencer's Guide to Drawing the Electoral Lines

State Summary

New Hampshire’s congressional and state legislative lines are drawn by the legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

In the 2020 cycle, the New Hampshire Supreme Court adopted a new congressional redistricting map released by the court-appointed special master on May 31, 2022. The new map makes minimal changes to the current map and gives the state two highly competitive districts. The court got involved after a monthslong stalemate between the legislature and Gov. Chris Sununu failed to produce a map through the legislative process.

In the 2010 cycle, the New Hampshire legislature passed a congressional plan (SB 202) on Apr. 11, 2012, which was signed on Apr. 23, 2012, and precleared on Aug. 14, 2012.  The legislature passed a state Senate plan (SB 201) on Mar. 7, 2012, which was signed on Mar. 23, 2012.  The legislature also passed a state House plan (HB 592) on Mar. 7, 2012; the bill was vetoed on Mar. 23, 2012, but the veto was overridden on Mar. 28, 2012. Both plans were precleared on June 1, 2012.

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Seats: (projected)

Institution:

Drawn by:

Plan Status:

Party Control:
  Upper House:
  Lower House:
  Governor:

Key Info for 2000 Cycle

Primary governing law

N.H. Const. pt. 2, arts. 91126

Key Info for 2010 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

N.H. Const. pt. 2, arts. 91126

Key Info for 2020 Cycle

Primary governing law

N.H. Const. pt. 2, arts. 91126

Data

Website

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Shapefile GeoJSON PDF

Shapefile source:

The Latest Updates

May 31, 2022
The New Hampshire supreme court adopted the congressional districting plan submitted by its special master. The new map followed a "least-change" approach from the 2010 districts.
May 12, 2022
The New Hampshire state Supreme Court announced that if the state Legislature and Governor fail to draw new congressional maps by May 19, the court will draw new maps using a "least change" approach.
May 10, 2022
Lawsuit filed in state court by Democrats alleging that new state Senate districts violate the state's constitution.
May 5, 2022
The New Hampshire House approved a new congressional map that significantly reorganizes the state's two congressional districts.
Apr 25, 2022
Republicans in the New Hampshire House introduced a new congressional redistricting plan.
Apr 23, 2022
The New Hampshire House approved the state Senate redistricting plan previously passed by the New Hampshire Senate.
Apr 11, 2022
The New Hampshire Supreme Court issued an order indicating it would take over the Norelli redistricting lawsuit.
Mar 31, 2022
New Hampshire voters filed a state court action seeking to have the court take over the congressional redistricting process.
Mar 22, 2022
New Hampshire Gov. Sununu indicated he would veto the congressional redistricting plan advanced by the state legislature and offered an alternate plan he prefers.
Feb 16, 2022
The New Hampshire Senate approved state House and Senate redistricting plans.
Jan 5, 2022
The New Hampshire House voted to approve a GOP-backed congressional redistricting plan.
Nov 4, 2021
New Hampshire Republicans proposed a new congressional redistricting map.
Oct 26, 2021
The New Hampshire Senate Special Redistricting Committee indicated that Senate redistricting will be delayed until January 2022 due to delays in local redistricting, which must be completed first.
Oct 22, 2021
The New Hampshire House Special Redistricting Committee intends to vote on redistricting maps on November 15, ahead of its deadline to submit a final report by November 18.
Sep 14, 2021
The New Hampshire House redistricting committee holds its first public listening session as the state and congressional redistricting process ramps up.
Sep 13, 2021
The House and Senate Special Committees on Redistricting are each holding a series of public meetings to receive input on the redistricting process.

Institution

New Hampshire’s congressional and state legislative lines are drawn by the legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

Timing

New Hampshire state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines.  Candidates must file for congressional primary elections by June 10, 2022. [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 655: 14]

The New Hampshire constitution requires state legislative lines to be drawn at the regular legislative session in 2021; that session began on Jan. 6, 2021, and is scheduled to end on June 28, 2021.  [N.H. Const. pt. 2, arts. 1126]  Candidates must file for state legislative primary elections by June 10, 2022. [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. 911In re Below, 855 A.2d 459 (N.H. 2004)]

Public input

The House and Senate Special Committees on Redistricting are each holding a series of public meetings to receive input on the redistricting process.

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 the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.

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 for themselves whether they wish to split a multi-member district into multiple single-member districts. [N.H. Const. pt. 2, arts. 1111-a26N.H. Rev. Stat. ch. 662-ABelow v. Gardner, 963 A.2d 785 (N.H. 2002); Burling v. Chandler, 804 A.2d 471 (N.H. 2002)]

2020 cycle

In the 2020 cycle, the New Hampshire Senate Special Redistricting Committee delayed the release of maps until January 2022. On November 4th, 2021, State Republicans proposed a congressional redistricting map that was later approved by the State House of Representatives and Senate in early 2022. Gov. Sununu indicated he would veto the map approved by the legislature and subsequently released his own map.

On March 31st, 2022 New Hampshire residents filed a lawsuit seeking the State court to declare New Hampshire’s legislatively approved congressional map proposed in Nov. 2021 unconstitutional and asked the court to take jurisdiction to draw and adopt a new map. The New Hampshire Supreme Court then issued an order on April 11th, 2022 stating it would take over the lawsuit and ensure the court is prepared to produce a fully enacted congressional redistricting plan should the legislative process and governor fail to do so.

On April 25th, 2022, The State’s House of Representatives again introduced a new congressional map and approved it on May 5th, 2022. Just after, on May 10, 2022, Democrats filed a lawsuit in state court alleging the new map violates the state’s constitution. The Governor and Legislature failed to draw and approve maps the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s May 19 deadline, and on May 31, 2022, the State Supreme Court adopted the congressional plan submitted by its special master, following a “least change” approach to the old map. The new map makes minimal changes to the current map and gives the state two highly competitive districts.

 

2010 cycle

Until Mar. 1, 2013, ten New Hampshire towns were subject to preclearance under the federal Voting Rights Act.  [New Hampshire v. Holder, No. 1:12-cv-01854 (D.D.C. Mar. 1, 2013)]

The New Hampshire legislature passed a congressional plan (SB 202) on Apr. 11, 2012, which was signed on Apr. 23, 2012, and precleared on Aug. 14, 2012.

The legislature passed a state Senate plan (SB 201) on Mar. 7, 2012, which was signed on Mar. 23, 2012.  The legislature passed a state House plan (HB 592) on Mar. 7, 2012; the bill was vetoed on Mar. 23, 2012, but the veto was overridden on Mar. 28, 2012. Both plans were precleared on June 1, 2012.

The state House plan was challenged in state court, and upheld.  [City of Manchester v. Sec’y of State, 48 A.3d 864 (N.H. 2012)]

2000 cycle

In the 2000 cycle, ten New Hampshire towns were subject to preclearance under the federal Voting Rights Act.

The New Hampshire legislature passed a congressional plan (SB 3) on Mar. 21, 2002, which was signed on Apr. 8, 2002, and precleared on June 10, 2002.

The legislature also passed a state Senate plan (SB 1) and state House plan (HB 420) on Mar. 21, 2002, but those plans were vetoed by the Governor on Mar. 29, 2002, and Apr. 3, 2002, respectively.  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 (HB 264) on May 28, 2004, and some of the state Representative lines (HB 1292) on Apr. 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)]

Redistricting Cases in New Hampshire

Search all New Hampshire Cases >

New Hampshire | State Trial | State Supreme | Congress
Norelli v. Scanlon
PENDING - State court action seeking to have court take over congressional redistricting process
Last Updated Apr 11, 2022
Case Number

Case No. 2022-0184

Cycle 2020
New Hampshire | Federal Trial | Process
New Hampshire v. Holder
Federal court approved New Hampshire bail out from section 5 of the Voting Rights Act
Last Updated Mar 1, 2013
Case Number

No. 1:12-cv-01854 (D.D.C.)

Cycle 2010
New Hampshire | State Trial | State Supreme | State Lower
City of Manchester v. Gardner
State court rejected challenge to state House map: alleged improper allocation of representatives under state constitution
Last Updated Sep 17, 2012
Case Number

No. 216-2012-CV-00366 (N.H. Super. Ct., Hillsborough Northern) & No. 2012-0338 (N.H. Sup. Ct.)

Cycle 2010