Money Access & Power

NHPR's State of Democracy team reports on the often unseen forces that shape New Hampshire's politics and public policy, including campaign fundraising, lobbying, voter access and other issues.

Jason Moon for NHPR

This week’s Supreme Court ruling limiting the ability of public sector unions to collect "agency fees" from non-members has landed along predictably partisan lines in New Hampshire. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

You’ll hear a lot this campaign season about who’s raising the most money — but the most telling parts of a candidate’s fundraising report aren't the details about how much a candidate raked in, but where that money came from.

That’s especially true in the race for New Hampshire governor, where we have a Republican incumbent who can draw on plenty of political and corporate connections, one Democratic challenger who is similarly well-connected to her party’s establishment and another Democrat who says he wants to get big money out of New Hampshire politics.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The issue of voter fraud in New Hampshire — or a lack thereof — was front and center at a meeting of New Hampshire’s Ballot Law Commission in Concord. The big takeaway?  Top state officials haven’t found any evidence that it’s running rampant in New Hampshire’s elections.

Given the deep field of candidates and its reputation as "the swingiest congressional district in the nation," New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District has attracted most of the spotlight this year, when it comes to campaign fundraising or otherwise. But there’s also plenty of money flowing into the 2nd Congressional District race — most of it going through the campaign bank account of incumbent Congresswoman Annie Kuster.

Democrat Maura Sullivan continues to blitz past all other candidates running in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional district when it comes to fundraising — and, as was the case during her inaugural months in the race, most of her campaign money continues to come from outside New Hampshire.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Former Missouri Secretary of State (and possible 2020 presidential candidate) Jason Kander is returning to New Hampshire to headline a major Democratic party fundraiser Saturday night. 

But apart from his occasional appearances at party events over the past few months, Kander’s political committee, Let America Vote, has all the while been building an on-the-ground presence in the Granite State: rallying opposition to Republican-backed voting laws at the State House and support for Democratic candidates in local races. 

NHPR File

There’s been a lot of talk in the past year about the need to pass stricter voting laws and clean up New Hampshire’s elections. But there’s been a lot less talk about any specific cases of voter fraud. NHPR’s Casey McDermott wanted to find out more about what the issue actually looks like.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

We’ve heard a lot of stories this election cycle about political newcomers who have been inspired to run for office. But there are often many obstacles between making that big personal decision and actually running a campaign.

A Boston-based group called New Politics is trying to help veterans and other public servants break into politics. This election cycle, they’re working with Maura Sullivan, a New Hampshire congressional candidate and a Marine veteran.

A proposal to amend the state constitution is stirring debate among lawmakers and legal experts in New Hampshire.

The so-called Marsy’s Law amendment would insert specific rights for crime victims into the state constitution.

As NHPR’s Jason Moon reports, a well-financed campaign has brought the same debate to more than a dozen other states at the same time.

The campaign in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District is among the most crowded and most buzzed-about midterm races in the country. With all that attention comes plenty of money, from both inside and outside the state.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

For Linda Saunders Paquette and her staff at New Futures, a nearly all-female lobbying team, learning to navigate uncomfortable interactions with legislators in a regular workday at the New Hampshire State House has become almost second nature.

“If we're having a meeting with a particular legislator or even going to a particular event, we use the buddy system,” Saunders Paquette said. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Twelve years ago, a sexual harassment scandal at the New Hampshire State House ended with the institution being forced to pay $85,000 in public funds toward a settlement. It also prompted a broader reckoning about how the Legislature handled misconduct within its ranks.

Related Story: Women Lobbyists, Legislators Describe Coping With Harassment At N.H. State House

If you’re looking for the latest information on how to vote in the local elections happening across New Hampshire today, you’d probably turn to the state elections website for the most reliable information.

But as voters across New Hampshire headed to the polls Tuesday, the state’s website included several broken links and blank pages where details on voter registration were supposed to be.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

A newly released report from the New Hampshire Secretary of State and Department of Safety says a majority of people who used out-of-state IDs to register in last November’s elections haven’t registered vehicles in New Hampshire or gotten in-state drivers licenses in the months since. While this data alone doesn’t provide proof of voter fraud, as NHPR has noted before, it's quickly become fodder in an ongoing debate about New Hampshire’s voting requirements.

White House Livestream

Secretary of State Bill Gardner used his opening remarks at the inaugural meeting of the Trump administration’s voting integrity commission to call for closer examination of the value of photo ID laws and other measures that, he says, improve public confidence in elections.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner said he intended to share information from the state’s public voter checklists with a newly launched Trump administration commission, plenty of people were quick to decry the move as an “invasion of privacy.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

There’s plenty of debate in New Hampshire right now around the question of who should be allowed to vote here. A big part of that lies in figuring out when — and why — a person calls New Hampshire their home. Answering that question, however, isn’t always straightforward.

Jack Rodolico for NHPR

A bill in the state Senate would tighten eligibility for SNAP benefits, commonly called food stamps. That bill was written, in part, by a conservative, Florida-based think tank that’s pushed similar measures around the country. 

Logan Shannon / NHPR

While President Trump and some of his allies perpetuated the (unverified and unsubstantiated) idea that out-of-state voters are being sent across the border en masse to throw New Hampshire elections, we were wondering: What can we actually know about the people who are showing up to register for the first time on Election Day?

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A bill that would close a loophole that lets business owners make multiple campaign contributions to a single candidate will be up for debate Tuesday at the Statehouse.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

From changes in voting registration to changes to party primaries or the Electoral College, New Hampshire lawmakers are preparing a slew of bills aimed at reforming the state’s elections.

In all, at least 40 bills aimed at tinkering with the state’s election laws are in the works for 2017.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

It’s not unusual for local officials across New Hampshire to be asked to turn over emails or other records under the state’s right-to-know law. In Manchester, City Clerk Matt Normand estimates his office receives about 100 such requests each year.

It is unusual, however, for a city to be on the receiving end of a public records request from the state itself.

Heading into November, New Hampshire Democrats talked a big game when it came to their hopes for retaking control of the state Senate.

But when the Republicans ended up maintaining the same 14-10 margin they’ve held for the past two years, Democrats placed at least part of the blame for their losses on gerrymandered district lines.

As it turns out, they might have a point.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

When New Hampshire voters walk into the polls Tuesday, they’ll be greeted by a process that has remained largely unchanged for decades: paper ballots, filled out by hand, with voter rolls monitored by pencil-wielding clerks. And the way the state’s top election official sees it, there’s little reason to mess with a good thing.

Save the Children Action Network

    

Early-learning programs have always been a tough sell in New Hampshire. Child advocates and educators have tried for years to break lawmakers’ resistance to the idea, yet a proposal to put more 5-year-olds in all-day kindergarten can still roil Concord for months.

A Washington, D.C. political group with deep pockets, a team of lobbyists and a small army of volunteers wants to change that.

A Citizen's Survival Guide to Outside Spending

Sep 2, 2016

You might already be overwhelmed by the number of TV ads about this year's U.S. Senate race between Kelly Ayotte and Maggie Hassan.  And if you're like a lot of people, you're confused about who's paying for all these 30-second commercials, and why.

Before you tune it out completely, here's a video guide to navigating the political advertising - and money - behind this important race.

NHPR staff

Ted Gatsas isn’t the first candidate for governor to take advantage of a gap in New Hampshire’s election law that allows wealthy donors to dodge limits on campaign contributions.

But no one has benefited more from the so-called LLC loophole than the Manchester mayor.

 

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Each year since 2010, the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity has asked New Hampshire candidates to sign onto a “pledge” vowing to cut taxes and spending, as well as to oppose the Affordable Care Act.

And usually, the Republicans running for governor are quick to sign on. That's not the case this year.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

As Americans for Prosperity's footprint grows in the New Hampshire, a lot of information about its finances remains shielded from the public. Here's a breakdown of the group's origins here, where it fits (or doesn't fit) into state election laws, and what reporting requirements it does have to follow.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

A mid-summer Saturday afternoon should, by normal standards, be a sleepy time in New Hampshire politics. The presidential primary is months in the rearview mirror. The state elections are just revving up, and the Legislature has left town for the year.

So why were John and Laura Spottiswood loading up the family van to go canvassing in Goffstown?

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