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Manchester sues over NH House redistricting plan

April 23, 2012
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MANCHESTER, N.H.—New Hampshire's largest city sued Monday to block implementation of a House plan to redraw its districts to adjust for population changes over the past decade, saying it is entitled to more representatives than it would get under the plan.

Manchester claims in the lawsuit that the plan is unconstitutional because the city deserves 33 or 34 representatives on its own. Instead, the city gets 31 representatives under the plan. Two additional representatives would represent two city wards plus the town of Litchfield.

The city argues it has little in common with Litchfield, and each municipality should have its own representatives instead of sharing.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas said the city has valid concerns with the plan because it will lose representation and that is unacceptable.

House Speaker William O'Brien criticized Manchester for wasting taxpayer money by tying the issue up in the courts.

The Republican Legislature passed the plan over Democratic Gov. John Lynch's veto. Lynch said each town and city ward with sufficient population deserved a representative but the plan failed to do that. He said 62 towns and wards deserved their own seats but did not get one.

The Republican plan would create more than 200 new districts, nearly doubling the number that exists now. Democrats had argued it's unconstitutional because dozens of towns and city wards that deserve their own representative would not get one.

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