Amid all the high-profile discussion of possible changes to New Hampshire election laws and processes, a trio of less-mainstream proposals were shot down Tuesday. One of them would have used mathematics to draw legislative districts, and the other two would allow people to vote for more than one candidate, showing their ballot preference by systems other than the traditional process. All three were marked as inexpedient to legislate by sweeping votes in the House Election Law Committee, which makes their demise in the full House likely. Under one bill, House Bill 1666, a calculation known as efficiency gap analysis would have been applied to statewide districts in New Hampshire after the next redistricting in 2021. If the analysis found problems, “the redistricting for that elected body shall be deemed to be gerrymandered and therefore not valid” and the districts redrawn before the next election. It was unanimously voted as ITL by the 20-person committee.
Efficiency gap analysis tries to objectively gauge fairness of districts by measuring “wasted” votes – those not necessary for a particular victory – to spot gerrymandering tactics such as packing one party’s voters together.
It is one of several mathematical systems being touted around the country to overcome debates about partisan drawing legislative districts.
The main sponsor, Rep. Jerry Knirk, D-Freedom, submitted a similar bill last year that did not specify a particular method of measuring district fairness. It also failed to get out of committee.