N.H. Bill to Settle Who Has Power to Delay Local Elections Fails

May 23, 2018

Town Meeting Day in Hopkinton in 2017.
Credit Rebecca Lavoie / NHPR
 

Keep your fingers crossed for good weather next March — the New Hampshire Legislature has failed to resolve the issue of who has the authority to postpone local elections.

Nearly 80 towns rescheduled their March elections in 2017 due to a powerful snowstorm, and questions about whether doing so was legal remained unsettled when another storm hit this year.

The Senate passed a bill to give the secretary of state the final say, while the House gave authority to town moderators. A committee of conference recommended a slightly different version of the Senate bill, but the House rejected it in a 118-225 vote on Wednesday.

Republican Rep. James Belanger, of Hollis, said lawmakers should wait to decide the issue and joked that he has ordered good weather for the next two years.