Voting

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.

A federal appeals court has upheld a 2014 New Hampshire law that puts limits on how long third parties have to collect the necessary signatures to petition their way onto a general election ballot.

The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire urged a three-judge panel in Boston to strike down the law, saying it could prevent third-party candidates from getting on the ballot.

The panel agreed Friday with a judge who found the law creates reasonable restrictions justified by the state's interest in requiring parties to demonstrate a sufficient level of support.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire polling places were under plenty of scrutiny on Election Day.

The attorney general’s office dispatched 50 people to polling locations across the state to keep an eye out for problems. The U.S. Department of Justice had its own Election Day hotline set up to field questions and potential complaints. Officials in the Secretary of State’s office, meanwhile, also kept an eye out for issues.

And, despite what President-Elect Donald Trump tweeted Sunday night, nowhere is there any evidence that large groups of people were voting illegally in New Hampshire.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor-elect Republican Chris Sununu says he wants to repeal same-day voter registration in New Hampshire.

“Most states don’t have it. There’s a reason. It can cause problems,” Sununu said, speaking to NHPR’s Morning Edition.

Getty Images

When voters across New Hampshire head to the polls Tuesday, they may want to leave their campaign swag at home.

That's because a new state law will be in effect that bans people from wearing anything into a polling site that promotes a particular candidate.

Ahead of Election Day next week, election officials around the country are checking and double-checking their equipment to make sure the results are calculated accurately.

Those officials are under increased scrutiny this year with Donald Trump and his allies claiming the voting system could be "rigged" in favor of Democrats. So election administrators around the country are opening the doors to the public to show off the multiple layers of safeguards in the ballot-counting process.

One question on many people's minds is whether polling places will be disrupted on Election Day. There are concerns that vigilantes, armed with cameras and notebooks, will intimidate voters they suspect of committing fraud. Such groups insist they'll follow the law, but civil rights groups are on alert just in case.

Michael Brindley

In the weeks leading up to the election, NHPR reporters will travel throughout the state to talk with people on the ground about what’s shaping their votes.

NHPR’s Michael Brindley caught up last week with libertarian Steve O’Brien.

He’s 29 years old and was attending a campaign rally in Keene to hear from libertarian Bill Weld, presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s running mate.

USFWS Mountain-Prairie via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/EJSXqM

Each year, eight-hundred thousand Latinos turn 18 in the United States - add up the 4 years since the last election, and you've got a whole lot of young voters. Today, a new app designed to increase turnout among young Latinos - an crucial block that haven't always shown up to the polls. 

Plus, the author of The Way Things Work - a quintessential coffee-table book from 1988 made up of detailed illustrations to explain everything from catapults to calculators. The classic book just got an update for the digital age.

And conservation by drone - we'll hear about a program designed to save black-footed ferrets from the plague by air-dropping vaccines.

A former Republican state representative who was arrested in connection with alleged voter fraud during New Hampshire's presidential primary has been arraigned on witness tampering and bribery charges.

Foster's Daily Democrat reports Don Leeman of Rochester appeared in Strafford County Superior Court on Wednesday. He remains out on bail.

The attorney general's office says Leeman, who resigned in May, was representing and voted in a district in which he was no longer domiciled during the February primary.

jessamyn west via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4NNw

While a slew of controversial election laws in recent years have prompted concerns over voter disenfranchisement...  Little attention has been paid to what may be the country's most disenfranchised population: felons. Today, an election law scholar discusses the estimated five point eight million men and women who are banned from the polls.

Plus, the head of an online food magazine takes aim at food writers that he says are skirting journalistic responsibilities, in favor of lighter fare. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

The New Hampshire secretary of state's office confirms that a record number of ballots were cast in the state's presidential primary earlier this month.

A total of 542,459 people voted in the Feb. 9 primary, topping the record set in 2008 by close to 13,000 votes. This year, there were 287,683 Republican votes — far surpassing the 2008 tally — while the Democratic total — 254,776 — fell short of the 2008 number.

Credit mikecogh via Flickr Creative Commons

 

Convicted felons behind bars in New Hampshire could get the right to vote under a proposal that is heading for a full vote by the House.

If passed, the measure would put the state in the ranks of Vermont and Maine. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, those are the only two states where felons never lose their right to vote.

But the bill, sponsored by four Democrats, faces an uphill battle after being deemed unworkable by the House Elections Law Committee on Thursday.

Sean Hurley

While most New Hampshire’s cities and towns will use machines to count votes this Primary Day, many towns still do things the old-fashioned way: hand-counted ballots.  But fewer towns stick to that method every year. This year, five new towns have opted to go the automated tabulator route. NHPR's Sean Hurley lives in one of those towns: Thornton.  He visited Town Hall to see how officials there are faring with the newfangled device.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

The New Hampshire Senate has once again passed a 30-day residency requirement for voting, a measure Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan is likely to veto.

Republican senators backing the bill say it will cut down on voter fraud and ensure people voting in New Hampshire actually live in the state. Democratic opponents, meanwhile, say it will disenfranchise voters.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday weighs an elections case that could dramatically change the way state legislative districts are drawn and could tilt some states in a decidedly more Republican direction.

The federal Constitution is clear. The national government's House of Representatives is to be apportioned based on the total population in each district, and the census is to count each person, whether eligible to vote or not, so that all are represented. The status of state legislative districts, however, is less clear.

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

A Manchester man has turned himself in to police after a warrant was issued accusing him of giving false addresses and voting in two other towns on Election Day in November 2014. The attorney general's office says Derek Castonguay registered to vote in Salem last year while living in Manchester.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Concerned over election fraud, the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office wants to keep on the books a state law that bans posting ballot photos to social media.

The Caledonian Record reports the office has taken its case to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

A federal judge ruled Aug. 13 that the law passed last year prohibiting residents from photographing their marked ballots and sharing them violated free speech and isn't necessary to stop election fraud, which is what proponents of the law— including the Secretary of State's office —had argued.

U.S. National Archives / Flickr/CC

This month, there’s been a lot of attention to the rules and regulations around casting a ballot, with last week’s fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and a federal appeals court rejecting a Texas voter I.D. law.  We’re discussing how and why most states have tightened up their voting requirements, including New Hampshire.

Public Domain

In 1870, Marilla Ricker, an attorney from Dover, attempted to cast a ballot in an election, but she was turned away. She tried again every year for the next five decades and was either refused or had her ballot destroyed. Ricker died in 1920, shortly after women won the right to vote. 

Vox Efx / Flickr Creative Commons

 

A coalition of civil rights groups, local election authorities and lawmakers are urging Gov. Maggie Hassan to veto a bill requiring people to live in New Hampshire for 30 days before they can register to vote.

The New Hampshire House passed the measure last week and the Senate already adopted a similar law. The Secretary of State's Office also supports the waiting period as a way to prevent "drive-by" voting by people who live out of state.

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

 

The New Hampshire House is backing a bill that would require a person to live in the state for 30 days before they can vote.

Supporters of such legislation say they want to crack down on "drive by" voting to ensure people voting in New Hampshire elections actually live here. But critics say the state shouldn't restrict who can and can't vote. Students or others who move to the state less than 30 days before an election shouldn't be barred from voting, they say.

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

A lawyer for the state of New Hampshire says the language of a voter registration law that lower courts have declared confusing and unconstitutional is legally accurate.

In arguments to the NH Supreme Court Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen LaBonte says the 2012 law amending voter registration forms simply clarifies that those who reside here must abide by laws requiring them to obtain drivers' licenses and register their vehicles if they are residents.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House of Representatives is asking the state Supreme Court to weigh in on a bill requiring people registering to vote — including out-of-state students or military personnel — to also register their cars and obtain drivers' licenses in New Hampshire.

The request for an advisory opinion was made in writing Wednesday and made public by the court Thursday.

A New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union lawyer says including the drivers' license requirement in establishing a voter's eligibility amounts to a poll tax that forces people to pay the state to vote.

From Pope Francis and President Obama to the kid down the block, we have, for better or worse, become a world full of selfie-takers.

But as ubiquitous as they are, there are some places where selfies remain controversial — like the voting booth. The legal battle rages over so-called ballot selfies in the state that holds the first presidential primary.

This may be a fight of the digital age, but according to New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, it involves a very old American ideal — the sanctity of the secret ballot.

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

House lawmakers are considering a measure that aims to create guidelines for election officials to judge a voters domicile. And the secretary of state’s office supports the bill.

The fight over what should constitute domicile for voting purposes has been going on for years in New Hampshire, and it’s often focused status of college students.

Anyone who’s been paying attention the last few months knows who and what will be appearing on the ballot in a few weeks. (And if you haven’t been paying attention, get off the sidelines already!) 

But how that information gets on the ballots is a process we don’t think much about.

In the run up to the 2004 election, NHPR's Lisa Peakes visited Captial Offset Printing, the company that had printed ballots for the state for decades.

Here's her story from the NHPR archives:

Wendy Longo photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Behind the numbers are the experiences of America's poor, which, more often than not, go unheard. This divide is the problem that N.H. writer and activist Dan Weeks addressed in the project he undertook last year, to travel around some of the poorest areas of the country by bus and see poverty close up, as well as the ways that it intertwines with a lack of political voice. Today we'll talk with him about the series of articles he wrote for The Atlantic on his trip and what he saw.

GUESTS:

With all the talk around a Voter ID law, which would tighten requirements for voting, others are looking to loosen the reigns. They are hoping to pass a bill in which New Hampshire would join 35 other states in  allowing for absentee balloting. Supporters say that it would address the concerns of those who find themselves too busy to vote on Election Day or may not have transportation to get to the polls. Opponents however suggest that expanding voting could possibly lead to more voter fraud. We'll look at the possibilities.

Guests:

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