New Hampshire Districts

You've got to draw the line somewhere



Districts are redrawn every 10 years in line with the Census to adjust for population changes. With a 400-person House of Representatives, adjusting districts can get a little hairy.

This time around Gov. John Lynch vetoed the House plan, which created more than 200 new House districts - more than double what there was before - because not all towns got their own representative. The matter was taken all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld the plan.

Part of the concern was about the floterial districts, or combined districts, that together have enough population for additional representation. Towns were divided up and combined, or a town and a city ward, as was the case with a Manchester ward and Litchfield and a Concord ward and Hopkinton.

People objected because they didn't have anything in common with their new shared district or because there was, say, a body of water or a mountain separating the towns.

The Legislature also adhered to a 10 percent rule - that each district's population vary no more than 10 percent from the ideal population. While the plan wasn't popular with everyone, Democratic State Senatorial candidate Jeff Woodburn, of Dalton, says the emphasis on single-member districts was good for democracy.

"They create one-on-one competition," Woodburn says. "There's not as many sure-Republican or sure-Democratic districts."

Chair of the New Hampshire Republican Liberty Caucus Carolyn McKinney also likes the final redistricting product, and says while there were areas that needed to be floterial districts, the overall plan "keeps us well-represented locally."

"Overall, more communities will see better representation," she says.

McKinney also notes gerrymandering is less of an issue when each town that has a population to warrant representation gets it.

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