The idea of using mathematical algorithms to determine whether electoral districts are fair has gained notable traction in the past year, including a Jan. 9 federal court ruling that used math to call North Carolina congressional districts biased. Now a lawmaker wants to bring the process to New Hampshire. Under a proposed bill, House Bill 1666, a process known as efficiency gap analysis would be applied to statewide districts in New Hampshire after the next redistricting in 2021. If the analysis finds 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. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jerry Knirk, D-Freedom, who argues that the method would help all elected officials.
“Partisan gerrymandering decreases competitiveness in the districts leading to disagreements and lawsuits every ten years,” his prepared statement reads. “The lawsuits are costly and the partisan appearance erodes voter’s faith in the process.”
The bill is slated for a hearing Thursday in front of the House Election Law Committee. It would apply to districts for the state Senate and House, the Executive Council, and the delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Last year Knirk proposed a similar bill to remove redistricting from control of the Legislature and have it done by mathematical algorithm; that bill died in committee. This year’s bill is more specific, citing a particular method to be used.