Stop Calling It an "Independent Redistricting Commission" ... It's Anything But - Granite Grok

Stop Calling It an “Independent Redistricting Commission” … It’s Anything But

So I saw this tweet from NHPR (which should be NHDR as in New Hampshire Democrat Radio) this morning:

Other “press” have described it the same way, as have the bill’s (HB 706) supporters. They are NOT telling the truth.

Here is how the members of the commission are chosen:

662-B:2  Eligibility to Serve on the Commission.  A person shall be eligible for appointment to the commission if the person is eligible to register to vote in New Hampshire and if the person does not currently hold office in the United States House of Representatives, New Hampshire senate, New Hampshire house of representatives, executive council, or a county commission.  

662-B:3  Appointment of Commissioners.

I.  The secretary of state shall identify the pool of eligible commissioners.  He or she shall, to the extent practicable, notify all eligible persons and invite them to apply.  These efforts may include: 

(a)  Advertising the application period and criteria in daily newspapers in the state. …

(b)  From all eligible applications received, the senate and house leaders from the majority party in the house shall nominate 10 applicants from the majority party in the house, and the senate and house leaders from the largest minority party in the house shall nominate 10 applicants from the largest minority party in the house.  The senate and house leaders from the majority party in the house shall chose 5 members from the 10 applicants so selected from largest minority party in the house to serve on the commission.  The senate and house leaders from the largest minority party in the house shall chose 5 members from the 10 applicants so selected from the majority party in the house to serve on the commission. 

(c)  The 10 commissioners so selected shall together select 5 commissioners from the applicants who are not members of the majority party in the house or the largest minority party in the house.  The 10 commissioners may not initiate communications or reply to communications about the selection process of the remaining 5 commissioners with outside persons attempting to influence commissioners or commission action.  The process of selecting the 5 commission members not affiliated with the majority party in the house or the largest minority party in the house is not subject to the right-to-know law in RSA 91-A.

So, two-thirds of the “independent commission” are chosen directly by the Party Bosses, and then the Bosses’ surrogates choose the remaining one-third.

This scheme eliminates the power of the voters to have any say in redistricting by giving all the power over redistricting to the Party Bosses, by allowing them to hand-pick the members of the redistricting commission. The rank-and-file legislators can only give a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down to the plan as a whole. They cannot influence how the map gets drawn, no matter how unfair the map may be to their constituents. Under the present system, rank-and-file legislators have some power to protect their constituents by demanding changes to the map in exchange for their votes. Under this scheme, that power disappears – either they choose the devil they know or they roll the dice with having the Supreme Court redistrict.

The bottom-line is that as a practical matter the map will get drawn so as to (1) assure the reelection of the Party Bosses and (2) to divvy up the remainder of the State between the Party Bosses.

A redistricting commission had-picked by the Party Bosses is anything but an “Independent Redistricting Commission.” HB 706 is a legislative sleight-of-hand to increase the power of the powerful.