Justice Department Clears NH Redistricting Plan

Tuesday, 05 Jun 2012 11:20 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New Hampshire’s legislative redistricting map has finally been approved by the Department of Justice, clearing the way for the plan to be used in this year’s elections.
 
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, the approval certifies the state is in compliance with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but the redistricting plan still faces legal challenges from several state communities upset about some of the changes made to state House and Senate districts.
 
New Hampshire is the only northern state that must have changes in its election maps pre-cleared at the federal level because of questions raised in 1968 regarding its compliance with the law that protects minority-voting rights.
 
Complaints were lodged that year against New Hampshire because less than 50 percent of eligible voters in 10 counties showed up to vote in the presidential election, raising questions about state-election procedures. 
 
State officials have sought repeatedly since then to have the state removed from the so-called watch list, which includes 16 states. But so far those requests have been denied.
 
State House Speaker William O’Brien said the Justice Department clearance confirms the state’s redistricting plan was carefully devised following the 2010 Census.
 

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