New Hampshire
New Hampshire
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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

After years of pushing dozens of anti-voter bills, this past year the General Court was finally on track to make a significant pro-voter improvement by establishing an online election information portal that would have allowed voters the opportunity to register or revise registration information and request absentee ballots. Unfortunately, despite widespread bipartisan support, a single legislator was able to derail the effort late in the final days of the session. Because New Hampshire failed to convert the legislative consensus on the need for change into law, the state received a C- on this year’s scorecard.

Looking Back

Where New Hampshire Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • 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 2022, we considered the state a bottom tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other bottom tier states.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 50th
  • EPI Score (2020): 39th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 4/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): LOW

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

The Legislature made only one minor change to election laws during the 2023 session.

  • H 244 slightly shortens the deadline for receiving mailed absentee ballot applications to noon the day before the election. Previously, the law required clerks to mail ballots out up to 5pm the day before the election. However, individuals will still have until 5pm the day before the election to personally appear at their local clerks’ office to pick up a mail ballot.
  • Unfortunately, the legislature failed to pass a bill that would have been a significant step forward for election administration.
    • SB 70 would have established an online election information portal where citizens could register to vote, update existing voter registrations, and request absentee ballots. The legislation also included authorization for the secretary of state to establish a grant system for cities and towns to use HAVA funds for “improving election security and technology.” Such funding could have been used to help those jurisdictions purchase badly-needed updated voting equipment.

Executive Action

  • Last 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 was based on a false premise. Based on testimony of voters, election officials, and nonpartisan experts, the Commission’s final report found that New Hampshire citizens of all parties had high levels of confidence in elections, and that New Hampshire elections are accurate and secure.
  • Although the state has been allocated over $7 million in federal election security grants, the secretary of state has declined to spend the vast majority of such funds — over $5.5 million in security grant funds remain unspent, the largest share of unspent funds among the states. This represents a missed opportunity to make investments in election infrastructure to improve the voter experience.