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

New Hampshire

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 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:

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

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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 legislature has not yet announced any specific plans or guidelines for public input.

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)]

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)]