HB603 (2020) Detail

Relative to procedures for apportioning electoral districts.










AN ACT relative to procedures for apportioning electoral districts.


SPONSORS: Rep. Knirk, Carr. 3; Rep. Read, Rock. 17; Rep. Somssich, Rock. 27; Rep. Guthrie, Rock. 13; Rep. Buchanan, Merr. 15


COMMITTEE: Election Law






This bill establishes procedures and guidelines for apportioning electoral districts after the decennial census using a mathematical optimization process.


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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.






In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen


AN ACT relative to procedures for apportioning electoral districts.


Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:


1  New Chapter; Procedures for Apportioning Electoral Districts.  Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 662-A the following new chapter:



662-B:1  Apportionment of Districts.  Apportionment of representative, senatorial, executive council, and congressional districts, based on the most recent decennial census, shall be drawn using a mathematical optimization process.  In order to prevent gerrymandering, the districts shall be drawn with the efficiency gap of the redistricting plan, cited in Whitford v. Gill, 218 F.Supp.3d 837 (W.D. Wis. 2016), vacated on other grounds, 585 U.S. ___ (2018),  optimized to be as small as possible.  Calculation of the efficiency gap shall be completed using data from the most recent election.

662-B:2  Constraints on Apportionment.  The following constraints shall be applied to apportionment under this chapter:

I.  Districts shall be established on the basis of population.  Each representative, senatorial, executive council, and congressional district shall have a population as nearly equal as practicable to the ideal district population.  Ideal district population shall be determined by dividing the number of districts to be established into the population of the state reported in the latest federal decennial census.

II.  The districts drawn shall follow existing town and ward boundaries, and shall, in the case of districts for the house of representatives, not cross county boundaries.

III.  No district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring a political party, incumbent legislator or councilor, or other person or group.  In establishing districts, no use shall be made of any of the following data:

(a)  Addresses of incumbent legislators.

(b)  Political affiliations of registered voters.

(c)  Demographic information, other than population counts, except as required by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

IV.  No district shall be drawn for the purpose of augmenting or diluting the voting strength of a language or racial minority group.

V.  Representative districts shall be designed with as few seats as possible.

662-B:3  Computer Algorithm.  A computer algorithm which performs the optimization process shall be written by an independent contractor selected by an independent redistricting commission, or jointly by the speaker of the house of representatives, the house minority leader, president of the senate, and the senate minority leader during the year of the decennial census.  The computer algorithm shall be reviewed by representatives of all parties, as defined in RSA 652:11, and other interested individuals to ascertain fairness and lack of political bias prior to use.

662-B:4  Redistricting Plan.  A redistricting plan generated by the computer algorithm shall be forwarded to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate before April 1 of each year ending in one and the rules of each chamber shall be suspended to the extent necessary to allow the introduction of legislation to effectuate the plan.  It is the intent of this chapter that the general court shall vote on the plan in either the house of representatives or the senate expeditiously, but not less than 7 days after the plan is received and made available to the members of the general court, under a procedure or rule permitting no amendments except those of a purely corrective nature.  It is further the intent of this chapter that if the bill is approved by the first house in which it is considered, it shall expeditiously be brought to a vote in the second house under a similar procedure or rule.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.


HB603 at GenCourtMobile
HB603 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 30, 2019 House Hearing
Feb. 13, 2019 House Exec Session
Oct. 31, 2019 House Exec Session
House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB603 Revision: 7471 Date: Jan. 15, 2019, 3:06 p.m.


Date Status
Jan. 3, 2019 Introduced 01/03/2019 and referred to Election Law HJ 3 P. 21
Jan. 30, 2019 Public Hearing: 01/30/2019 11:30 am LOB 308
Feb. 13, 2019 Executive Session: 02/13/2019 11:00 am LOB 308
Retained in Committee
Aug. 29, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 08/29/2019 10:00 am LOB 308
Sept. 26, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 09/26/2019 10:00 am LOB 308
Oct. 31, 2019 Executive Session: 10/31/2019 11:00 am LOB 308
Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate (Vote 20-0; CC) HC 50 P. 6
Jan. 8, 2020 Inexpedient to Legislate: MA VV 01/08/2020 HJ 1 P. 38