WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, May 6, a lawsuit was filed in state court against New Hampshire’s new legislative districts. The maps for state Senate and Executive Council districts were passed by the Legislature a few weeks ago and signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu (R) last Friday. These are the first new maps to be enacted in New Hampshire based on 2020 census data after Republican gridlock led to an impasse regarding the congressional map. There is currently ongoing litigation to ensure a new congressional map is adopted for the 2022 elections.
The lawsuit filed today on behalf of voters alleges that the state’s new legislative districts are partisan gerrymanders that impermissibly favor Republicans in violation of the New Hampshire Constitution. The plaintiffs argue that Republican legislators purposefully “cracked” and “packed” Democratic voters across legislative districts in order to secure Republican majorities in both chambers. In fact, the lawsuit argues that the districts are so gerrymandered that, even “if more than half of the statewide electorate votes for Democratic candidates, Republicans can still obtain control of both the Senate and Executive Council with large margins.” The plaintiffs suggest that these partisan gerrymanders violate multiple provisions of the New Hampshire Constitution “by effectuating preordained outcomes without regard to the expressed will of the state’s voters” and argue that both maps should be blocked by the court.