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Bill to Create Independent Redistricting Commission in N.H. Gets Bipartisan Boost

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A measure that would create an independent commission to draw boundaries for New Hampshire elections gained a bipartisan boost Wednesday.


Current state law leaves the responsibility of redistricting to the legislature.


Supporters of this measure say that allows for gerrymandering, or the ability of the majority party to draw boundary lines in their favor.


This bill would allow for a 15-member independent redistricting commission.  


Similar bills have so far stalled in the legislature, but a bipartisan amendment introduced Wednesday by Sen. James Gray and Rep. Marjorie Smith seeks to move this one forward by giving lawmakers more sway in selecting commission members.


"This is not about Democratic and Republican,” said Smith, the prime sponsor. “It's not about liberal and conservative. It's not about left and right. It's about right and wrong."


Rep. Ned Gordon says gerrymandering has led to more Republican votes in his district. But he still favors making the process more independent.


"I'm a Republican,” Gordon said. “I'm probably the beneficiary of that redistricting. But the fact is, it's just not right for the constituents."


The measure has already cleared the House, where it received support from both sides of the aisle.


“I believe the current system works well,” Governor Chris Sununu said in a statement. “But will review the final language of the bill once it reaches my desk.”

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