Media Contact

Ari Schechter,

December 15, 2021

Shows partisan, Republican-leaning “pack-and-crack” gerrymander

CONCORD, N.H. The ACLU of New Hampshire today unveiled comprehensive analysis of the proposed congressional map for the Granite State, which shows that the draft map is indeed gerrymandered to give the majority party (Republican) irrefutable, unfair advantages for the next decade of U.S. House Elections. The independent, nonpartisan analysis, which draws on publicly available 2020 Census data and local 2020 presidential vote returns at the ward-level, gives a statewide, county, and city-level perspective on the proposed changes.

“Today, the data shows what voting rights experts have been saying for months: New Hampshire politicians are trying to cheat the system and choose their voters, and they are drawing deeply unfair electoral maps in order to do it,” said Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Hampshire. “Every Granite State voice should be heard equally in our elections, and it should be the voters themselves that choose their politicians. This is about the very foundation of our democracy. We should all be profoundly concerned about this map.”

The quantitative analysis of the map, conducted by FLO Analytics and commissioned by the ACLU of New Hampshire, looks specifically at the partisan lean of New Hampshire’s two U.S. House districts under the current status quo maps and under the Republican majority’s proposal.

The main takeaways from the analysis include the following:

  • Bringing the currently enacted congressional map in line with the 2020 Census data could be achieved by moving precisely one of New Hampshire’s 320 voting wards – less than 1% of all wards. However, the proposed map contained in House Bill 52 (HB 52) would move 75 wards – 23.4% of the total.
  • The proposed congressional map would create two starkly different constituencies that look markedly different from the New Hampshire electorate—and from each other. The standard metric used to quantify a party’s support in a particular district is called “partisan lean,” and in this instance, is computed by comparing how well the GOP fared in the most recent Presidential election in any district minus the GOP’s performance in the United States as a whole.

    The partisan lean of the two districts would change as follows:
  Current Proposed
District 1 R-0.3 = (47.2% - 47.5%) R+2.9 = (50.4% - 47.5%)
District 2 R-2.2  = (45.3% - 47.5% R-5.2  = (42.3% - 47.5%)
  • The table shows that the current map, which has two competitive but slightly Democratic-leaning districts, would be replaced by two uncompetitive districts. The proposed congressional map is also consistent with the classic “pack-and-crack” gerrymandering technique. In this case, District 2 would be sacrificed, and “packed” with the opponent’s voters with the aim of increasing the majority party’s prospects in District 1. 
  • HB 52 also risks creating seats in which the incumbent candidate is safer from interparty competition. Political scientists argue that this tends to make incumbents align more closely with the fringes of the electorate because they will face their most formidable opponents in the primary election, not the general.

“Geographically, HB 52 represents a pretty dramatic departure from the status quo. By and large, New Hampshire’s US House boundaries look like they did for members of Congress seated in 1883 – they’ve hardly changed. In fact, these lines have been redrawn 5 times in the last 140 years, and quite minimally each time,” said Dr. William Terry, Data Analyst at FLO Analytics. “In setting aside the bipartisan map whose fundamental shape has effectively weathered 13 decennial redistricting cycles thus far, HB 52 would move 1 in 4 New Hampshire voting wards from one House district to another in 2022 – and 29% of the state’s population. Very simple and completely unbiased tabulations of 2020 voting patterns show that HB 52 would significantly change the partisan lean of the reconstituted districts."

“These maps are a visual representation of just how urgent it is for community members to get involved and take action against this gerrymandered map—after all, the bedrock of our elections is on the line,” said Lily Jackson, Redistricting Organizer at the ACLU of New Hampshire. “The stakes could not be higher: the electoral maps approved in the coming year will play a vital role in Granite State communities and affect our day-to-day lives for the next ten years. Voters should pick their politicians—politicians should not pick their voters.”

The ACLU of New Hampshire is hosting a virtual community discussion tonight at 6PM to present this analysis and take questions. The discussion will be hosted by the ACLU-NH’s Director of Community Engagement, Ed Taylor, and Redistricting Organizer, Lily Jackson. Community members are invited to attend, and can RSVP here:

About the ACLU of New Hampshire

The ACLU of New Hampshire is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to preserving the individual rights and liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.