The Bulletin Board

Redistricting committee announces schedule for drafting maps, hearing public input

By: - October 20, 2021 1:26 pm

People rallying for fair redistricting hold signs near the State House in Concord on Wednesday. (Amanda Gokee | New Hampshire Bulletin)

House Special Redistricting Committee Chair Rep. Barbara Griffin, a Goffstown Republican, announced on Wednesday the committee’s schedule for drafting maps and hearing public input ahead of a Nov. 18 deadline.

The committee will not meet next week, in an effort to give its 15 members more time to draft maps. Members will convene again on Nov. 3 and 4 for full-day sessions starting at 10 a.m. to review their drafts. The committee will then hold a hearing the week of Nov. 8 to take public comment, but it is still unclear exactly how much time the public will have to review maps before the session. Griffin said she is looking at scheduling the hearing in Concord over the course of two days that week, between Nov. 8 and 10.

Rep. Matt Wilhelm, a Manchester Democrat, asked Griffin to consider holding one day of the hearing in another part of the state and during evening hours to allow for public participation from residents who can’t attend a daytime meeting in Concord. Griffin said she would “take a look at it” and reminded the public that written testimony can be submitted online.

At this point, both the House and Senate redistricting committees have concluded a series of 10 listening sessions that were held in each of the state’s counties to hear input from residents regarding the mapping process. Residents in each county emphasized the importance of having time to review draft maps before offering public comment on them.

On Wednesday, only Rep. Carol McGuire, an Epsom Republican, had a draft map for the committee to review. McGuire had used the state’s mapping software to draw maps of both county commissioner and House districts for Belknap, Merrimack, and Grafton counties.

The chair told other members to start submitting maps, without designating specific members to work on particular maps or regions.

“It becomes an issue at this point, I think, as to how we want to proceed to review maps. And I say this because I haven’t seen many maps. I haven’t particularly put out a call for maps but I haven’t seen many, and we need to have maps at meetings to vote on,” Griffin said during Wednesday’s meeting.

The deadline for the committee to submit its final report is Nov. 18. Griffin expects to vote on maps the week of Nov. 15, and plans for the committee to meet on Nov. 16 and 17.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s energy and environment reporter. She previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.