New Hampshire
New Hampshire
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Grade TL;DR

In 2021, New Hampshire saw a mixed bag of anti- and pro-voter initiatives passed in the Legislature. However, in 2022, the Legislature passed a number of significant anti-voter bills that negatively impact college students and election workers. Additionally, the secretary of state established a Special Committee on Voter Confidence in response to anti-democratic actors’ demands. Taken together, these anti-voter actions weighed heavily in our consideration for the state’s grade, which is why New Hampshire received a D+ on this year’s scorecard.

Looking Back

Where New Hampshire Started in 2020

  • Automatic Voter Registration: No
  • Online Voter Registration: No
  • Same-Day Registration: Yes
  • Restoration of Rights: Prison Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: Excuse-Only
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: No
  • Early Voting Opportunities: No
  • ID Requirements: ID Requested, but not Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for New Hampshire as of 2020, we considered the state a bottom tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2021-22 activity against other bottom tier states.

How Our Tier Compares:

  • COVI (2020): 48th
  • EPI Score (2020): 39th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 4/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): LOW

2021: Two Years Ago

Legislative Action

Despite continued efforts to suppress the voting rights of out-of-state college students, the General Court was unable to pass most of these anti-voter provisions. Instead, most of the legislation passed during the 2021 session focused on voter rolls and keeping voter lists up-to-date.

  • S 31 shifts voter address changes to the secretary of state’s office instead of local supervisors of checklists, directs the secretary of state to enter into data-sharing agreements with other states to expedite voter roll removals of former New Hampshire voters that moved out of state, and requires supervisors to submit previous voter address information received on New Hampshire voter registration forms to any relevant state chief election officer instead of just those of the surrounding states.
  • H 223 updates the statewide absentee voter list to include details on when absentee ballots were returned, gives political parties access to the list, and requires the secretary of state to update the list more frequently starting the month before the election.
  • H 285 made several changes to voter list maintenance procedures including use of USPS National Change of Address data.
  • H 523 requires voters that used a “qualified voter affidavit” to have their photo taken by an election worker at the polls.
  • H 555 clarifies that a voter currently incarcerated for a misdemeanor offense or awaiting trial can request an absentee ballot.

2022: This Past Year

Legislative Action

During the 2022 session, conservative members of the General Court once again continued their push to disqualify college
students from voting. Members attempted to pass bills that would have revised the definition of “domicile” for voting
purposes, removed student IDs from the list of acceptable voter ID, and made it harder to cast affidavit ballots.

  • Unfortunately on that last point, they succeeded by passing S 418, which needlessly
    complicated the affidavit ballot process.

    • S 418 requires first-time registrants that lack valid photo ID to cast an affidavit ballot and then mail a
      copy of a valid identity document to the secretary of state within seven days or the ballot will not be counted.
      Additionally, if the affidavit voter forgets to mail the required documentation to the secretary of state, the
      secretary will forward the voter’s information to the attorney general for investigation and possible voter
      fraud charges.

The General Court also managed to pass legislation that singled out election workers for extra scrutiny and possible
criminal charges for mistakes on the job and required workers to give challengers increased access to ballot counting.

  • H 1567 gives the attorney general the authority to investigate election officials for
    misconduct and strip those officials of their voting rights if convicted.
  • H 1174 requires election officials to give challengers access to see and hear ballot
    counting, including hand counts or counts done by electronic ballot counting machines.
  • S 405 makes it a felony to use force or violence, or threaten force or violence, to
    interfere with an election worker completing their duties and creates civil penalties for election workers that fail
    to perform their duty or negligently perform their duty.

Executive Action

  • Earlier this year, Secretary of State Scanlan announced the establishment of a “Special
    Committee on Voter Confidence” aimed at restoring voter confidence in elections. Unfortunately, the commission is
    based on a false premise. Despite Scanlan’s claims of growing mistrust in elections, quite the opposite is true in
    New Hampshire. Recent testimony by political scientists to the Commission demonstrated that New Hampshire citizens
    of all parties have some of the highest levels of confidence in elections compared to citizens of other states.