WASHINGTON, D.C. — On March 31, a lawsuit was filed in state court over New Hampshire’s failure to enact a new congressional map based on 2020 census data. With Gov. Chris Sununu (R) stating that he would veto the map passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature on March 17, and with Sununu’s own map proposal failing to move forward, the redistricting process stands at a stalemate. The plan passed by the Legislature changes the state’s two previously competitive districts into a Republican-leaning 1st Congressional District and Democratic-leaning 2nd Congressional District. Despite Sununu’s clear indication during the map-drawing process that he would not sign such a proposal, legislators did not change this plan before passing it, setting up an impasse between the two branches. The plaintiffs in this suit, New Hampshire voters, also point out that this impasse is unlikely to change given that today is the last day for new legislation to advance in the normal legislative process, meaning that any new map proposals will not have the chance to go through the legislative process in time for 2022 elections.
Since the state has not enacted a new congressional map yet, the map drawn with 2010 census data remains in effect. Because the state’s population increased by 60,000 since the 2010 census, the districts are malapportioned, with the current 1st Congressional District having a significantly larger population than the 2nd Congressional District. The plaintiffs argue that, with “no sign of a political compromise on the horizon,…it falls to the judiciary to protect the constitutional rights of Plaintiffs and voters across this state, just as it did when the political branches failed to enact new state legislative districts following the 2000 Census.” The lawsuit asks the court to block the current map and ensure a map based on 2020 census data is enacted before the 2022 election cycle.