HB 687
Background and procedural information

In 2006, New Hampshire voters passed a ballot initiative that would change the way that New Hampshire draws districts. HB 687 The proposal, which passed, allows districts to be drawn using a single-member scheme, an at-large scheme, or a more obscure electoral system called “floterial” districts. These “floterial” districts are used to ensure that districts that are underrepresented gain adequate representation. New Hampshire Constitution Part II Section 11. This works as follows: If the ideal district size is 50,000, and districts 1 and 2 each have 75,000 people, one representative each would underrepresent the districts and two representatives each would overrepresent the districts. Instead, if each district is given one representative and a “floating” third representative is voted on by districts 1 and 2 combined, both districts now have appropriate representation. Gary F. Moncrief, *_Floterial Districts, Reapportionment, and the Puzzle of Representation_**, */Legislative Studies Quarterly/, Vol. 14, No. 2 (May, 1989), pp. 251-264.

HB 687  requires the general court, the New Hampshire legislature, to form new districts complying with the new district regulations adopted into Part II Section 11 of the New Hampshire Constitution by the voters. The 2008 elections are to be the first under this new system.

The bill failed to pass the house on March 27, 2007.

Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?

No. The legislation merely mandates that the legislature comply with the recently passed constitutional provision. The constitutional provision specifically allows districts to be at-large or floterial.

Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?

No. No mention is made of how specific districts are to be drawn, except that they must follow natural political subdivisions and be contiguous.

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?

There is no commission. The legislation requires the legislature to create the new districts.

Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?


Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?

No. There is no provision made for public submission of districting plans, however citizens could probably send their input to their legislators for consideration.

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?

No. Districts are to be drawn only in the next regular session after a decennial census.

Note: A proposal may be neutral on whether or not to favor competitive districts for a number of reasons, including that such a requirement may be thought to conflict with other criteria, potentially create other legal issues, or is assumed to flow from the new process itself -- or it might merely not be a priority for the legislative sponsors. FairVote believes that some form of proportional voting is needed to ensure maximum competitiveness for each seat and to ensure meaningful choices for all voters.

November 10th 2005
Why Redistricting and Campaign Reform Are Both Still Relevant
TPM Cafe

This political column cites FairVote as it points to the value of getting rid of winner-take-all elections to as the next step in redistricting reform.

November 2nd 2005
Gerrymander may help GOP in '06
The Napa Valley Registrer

An article that cites FairVote on why Gerrymandering harms elections and has an impact on skewed results.

November 2nd 2005
California, Ohio to vote on redistricting changes
Washington Post

FairVote's Rob Richie gets the last word on lack of voter choice in our elections, as this wire article reports on redistricting reform efforts in California and Ohio.

November 2nd 2005
How Money Buys Power in American Politics

Francis X. Clines, an editorial board member for the New York Times, writes on national politics, gerrymandering and the resultant decreased competitiveness in Congressional elections. Fairvote is cited.

October 27th 2005
To Tame Polarization Of Politics, Fix Our Redistricting System
Roll Call

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