New Hampshire Legislators Have the Opportunity to Override Governor’s Veto and Pave Way to Fair Maps

Issues
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The New Hampshire House of Representatives
The New Hampshire House of Representatives chamber, photographed from its balcony. Photo by Royalbroil via Wikimedia Commons.

In the summer of 2019, a bipartisan group of New Hampshire legislators overwhelmingly voted to pass HB 706, which would grant authority to an independent redistricting commission (IRC) to create electoral maps for state and federal elections free from partisan gerrymandering.

These legislators listened to their constituents’ call for fair elections determined by the will of the people and not the will of self-serving politicians.

Unfortunately, Governor Chris Sununu disagreed and and vetoed the legislation. 

Governor Sununu’s veto will deprive his constituents of the transparency and accountability provisions found in HB 706 for the redistricting process.

For example, HB 706 requires that all IRC meetings and records be open to the public, that the IRC allow the public to submit draft maps, and that the IRC create and maintain a website to disseminate data and information about the drafting process.

The bill also requires an equal number of commissioners from the largest political party, the second largest political party, and those who are not members of either political party.

Under HB 706, no party would be able to intentionally gain a systematic advantage for itself because the commissioners are required to reach a consensus across party lines. Additionally, the final authority to approve or reject maps remains with the General Court (New Hampshire’s state legislature).

CLC submitted testimony in favor of HB 706’s passage and the promise that it has to create a fair electoral system for all New Hampshirites.

On September 18 and 19, the Legislature will meet for its special session to override Governor Sununu’s vetoes from the past legislative term. The General Court of New Hampshire should vote to override Governor Sununu’s veto of HB 706 to ensure that the citizens of New Hampshire choose their politicians and not the other way around.

 

Co-author, Simone Leeper, is a Legal Fellow at CLC and graduate of Georgetown University Law Center

Chris is a CLC legal counsel focusing on redistricting, minority representation, litigation and advocacy.