Gardner to Serve 21st Term as S.O.S; Hints at Taking Closer Look at N.H.'s Voting Laws

Dec 7, 2016

Bill Gardner, best known as the guardian of New Hampshire’s First in the Nation Presidential Primary,  was elected to his 21st consecutive term as Secretary of State Wednesday.

Gardner was chosen by both legislative chambers with no serious opposition. Having held the position since 1976, Gardner is the longest serving Secretary of State in the country.

But during his victory speech, Gardner, whose office oversees state elections, told the packed House Chamber that taking a closer look at the New Hampshire's voting laws…wouldn’t be a bad idea.

He singled out same-day voter registration as one area for consideration.

“We are pretty proud of our election system but there’s always room for improvement and so it would be an appropriate time this session to take a look back at that decision,” Gardner said Wednesday on the House floor.

New Hampshire enacted same-day voter registration two decades ago as an alternative to the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which allows people to register to vote at DMVs.

Governor-elect Chris Sununu has said he wants to get rid of same-day registration, stressing it "causes problems" but has not said what specific changes he supports.

New Hampshire is one of 13 states with same-day voter registration. Proposed legislation this session will look at changing residency requirements for voting.