New Hampshire Officials Study How Post-Election Audits Would Work Here, As In Dozens of Other States | Casey McDermott/New Hampshire Public Radio

New Hampshire is in the minority of states that don’t routinely audit their election results. But on Monday, the Secretary of State’s office tested out how such an audit might work in future races. Teams from two election technology companies — Clear Ballot and Nordic Innovation Labs  — ran a test audit on the results of five local races from 2018, in a public session at the State Archives. (A recording of the session can be viewed online here.) A new law requires the Secretary of State’s office “to study the use of high speed, optical/digital scan ballot counting devices for use in conducting post-election audits of electronic ballot counting devices used in state and federal elections.” As noted in the bill’s legislative history, New Hampshire’s lack of post-election audits has been identified in some outside reports as a potential security risk.

Full Article: N.H. Officials Study How Post-Election Audits Would Work Here, As In Dozens of Other States | New Hampshire Public Radio


New Hampshire: Gardner seeks 23rd term as secretary of state | Holly Ramer/Associated Press

After what felt like the longest election cycle ever, the nation’s longest serving secretary of state said Thursday he will seek a 23rd two-year term in New Hampshire. First elected by the Legislature in 1976, Bill Gardner faced little competition until two years ago, when he defeated former gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern by just four votes. He kept quiet about his plans for the next biennium until he finished overseeing recounts for the most recent elections. “Three months ago or a year ago or even three weeks ago, I didn’t know if I was going to do it or not,” he said in an interview. Gardner, 72, has built a reputation for fiercely defending New Hampshire’s position at the front of the presidential primary calendar. This year’s Feb. 11 contest was under extra scrutiny after the leadoff Iowa caucuses descended into chaos, with technical problems and results that remained muddied for days. Then came the coronavirus pandemic, which created challenges for municipal elections and traditional Town Meetings in March, followed by the September state primary and November general election. The state temporarily expanded eligibility for absentee voting for those concerned about the pandemic, and extensive safety measures were in place at the polls. All of that influenced his decision, Gardner said,

Full Article: Gardner seeks 23rd term as New Hampshire secretary of state

New Hampshire voters can bring guns to polling stations | New Hampshire | Christian Wade/The Center Square

When voters go to the polls in New Hampshire in Tuesday’s presidential election, they’ll be allowed to take firearms with them. New Hampshire is one of a handful of “open carry” states where firearm owners can possess a gun in plain view, without any special permit. The issue of guns in polling stations comes up every election cycle, but has been elevated this year amid heightened concerns about voter intimidation and violence ahead of a rancorous election. President Donald Trump, who is seeking another term, has been accused of stoking those fears with calls for his supporters to act as election “monitors” to check for fraud in the voting process. In a joint letter to local election officials on Thursday, New Hampshire’s Secretary of State William Gardner and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald clarified that the state doesn’t have the authority to prevent people from carrying firearms into polling stations, even if they are located inside schools. “There are no state election laws governing carrying of a firearm in a polling place,” the officials wrote. “Voters should not be prevented from voting based on possession of a firearm.” While a 1990 federal law prohibits firearms from being brought into schools, the officials noted they cannot prevent licensed carriers from entering school buildings.

Full Article: New Hampshire voters can bring guns to polling stations | New Hampshire |

New Hampshire Secretary Of State Says 2020 Is ‘A Once In A Hundred Years Type of An Election’ | Casey McDermott/New Hampshire Public Radio

Secretary of State Bill Gardner has overseen New Hampshire elections for more than four decades and worked on voting policy in the Legislature several years before that — but even he’s never seen anything like 2020. “Here we are, a once in a hundred years type of an election,” Gardner told local election officials during a pre-election huddle Tuesday morning. “But we’ve at least known about it for enough time that we can all have prepared, like you all have.” Gardner’s office has taken extra steps beyond their normal training lineup to prepare pollworkers for what’s to come next week. They’ve hosted near-weekly meetings with local election officials since the summer, which have served as forums for questions and concerns on issues ranging from mail delivery to the use of Sharpie markers on absentee ballots. The state has also equipped local election officials with thousands of masks, jugs of hand sanitizer and single-use pens or pencils, in hopes of limiting transmission of COVID-19 at the polls on Election Day. “It was helpful that we had the primaries back in September, because no one knew for sure how that would all play out,” Gardner said Tuesday morning. “And that was sort of like the spring training, the brief preparation for what’s to come next week.”

Full Article: N.H. Secretary Of State Says 2020 Is ‘A Once In A Hundred Years Type of An Election’ | New Hampshire Public Radio

New Hampshire: Guns Will Be Allowed In Most Polling Places, But ‘Voter Intimidation Will Not Be Tolerated’ | Casey cDerott/New Hampshire Public Radio

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office says state and local authorities can’t prevent people from bringing guns into polling places, even those located in school buildings — but they will be on alert to respond to anyone, armed or otherwise, who is interfering with someone else’s ability to vote. “We are not able to use any of our New Hampshire election laws to prohibit a voter from entering to vote if they have a firearm, and that includes if the polling place is a school,” Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Chong Yen, who leads the state’s Election Law Unit, during a call with local clerks earlier this week. This policy isn’t new, and state officials similarly said ahead of the 2016 elections that voters could not be barred from entering polling places because they’re carrying a gun. Some voters and pollworkers have voiced anxiety about firearms around polling places on Nov. 3, particularly after President Trump called on supporters “to go into the polls and watch very carefully.” New Hampshire is an “open carry” state, meaning gun owners can openly carry a loaded firearm without a license or permit. Since 2017, the state has also allowed any lawful gun owner to carry a concealed weapon. Officials in at least one other state, Michigan, recently announced plans to ban people from openly carrying firearms at polling places on Nov. 3, though the state is now facing a lawsuit over that policy.

New Hampshire: Governor Sununu slams Trump’s suggestion to delay election – News | Fosters

Gov. Chris Sununu declared “the election will happen in New Hampshire on November 3rd,” joining many fellow Republicans pushing back Thursday after President Donald Trump suggested delaying the presidential election. Trump doesn’t have the power to change the election date, but he floated the idea as he pushed unsubstantiated allegations that increased mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic will result in fraud. Sununu, who has supported the president since Trump was elected in 2016, was clear in his opposition to him on this issue. “Make no mistake: the election will happen in New Hampshire on November 3rd. End of story,” he tweeted. “Our voting system in NH is secure, safe, and reliable. We have done it right 100% of the time for 100 years – this year will be no different.” With Trump lagging in the polls and confronted by fresh evidence of an economic collapse and an escalating public health crisis, his comments were widely viewed as an attempt to change the subject and rile his base.

New Hampshire: Memo outlines poll precautions for September primary, November general election | Casey McDermott/NHPR

New Hampshire’s pollworkers will be outfitted with masks, face shields, gloves and gowns for the September primary and November general election — but local officials will need to reuse some of those items, including face masks, in both elections, according to new guidance from the Secretary of State. Gallon-sized jugs of hand sanitizer will also be distributed as part of these Election Day safety supply kits — with a word of caution. “Hand sanitizing before or while handling a ballot risks getting the ballot wet,” the Secretary of State’s office said, instead advising officials to offer sanitizer to voters as they exit the polling place. “Wet ballots can jam in the ballot counting device.” This and other advice was included in a new memo, which was sent to local election officials July 6 and shared with NHPR, outlining the state’s plans for distributing protective gear across the hundreds of municipalities who are ultimately responsible for running the voting process this fall.

New Hampshire: Blind voters sue over New Hampshire absentee ballot system | Holly Ramer/Associated Press

New Hampshire’s absentee ballot system will force blind voters and those with other disabilities to sacrifice their privacy, safety or potentially both during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a lawsuit filed against the state. Disabilities Rights Center-New Hampshire sued Secretary of State William Gardner on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind and its New Hampshire chapter, Granite State Independent Living, and three voters with disabilities. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, seeks to force the state to implement an accessible, electronic absentee voting system. Every step of New Hampshire’s absentee voting program is inaccessible,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiffs are entitled to equal access to New Hampshire’s absentee voting program to vote privately, secretly, independently, and safely, as individuals without disabilities can.” Absentee ballots typically are only available in limited circumstances, but the state is allowing anyone to use them for the Sept. 8 state primary and Nov. 3 general election if they have concerns about the virus. Special voting machines for people with disabilities will be available for those who vote in person, but both scenarios are problematic, according to the lawsuit.

New Hampshire: Lawmakers, Secretary of State seek to iron out COVID-19 absentee ballot process | Ethan DeWitt/Concord Monitor

Weeks after a lengthy commission and exhaustive debate, lawmakers and the Secretary of State’s office say they’ve come up with a process for voting in New Hampshire during the coronavirus. But it’s not going to be effortless. Voters will be allowed and encouraged to vote by absentee ballot to avoid going to the polls – an option usually reserved for specific circumstances. Getting the state’s potential voters familiar and comfortable with the new process, however, will take new levels of outreach. Under the new process, voters looking to avoid polling locations will need to know how to register to vote by mail, apply for an absentee ballot by mail, and turn that ballot in properly. For many, it’ll be their first experience with the process. Town officials and the Secretary of State’s office are prepping for a surge. On Thursday, a key state Senate committee hammered out legislation that could make it easier. An amendment to House Bill 1266 recommended by the Senate Election Law Committee Thursday would allow voters to register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot for both the Sept. 8 state primary and the Nov. 3 presidential election. The bill will receive a full hearing and vote in the Senate on Monday.

New Hampshire: State approves letting anyone register to vote by mail | Kevin Landrigan/New Hampshire Union Leader

Voters may register to vote by mail for New Hampshire elections if concerns over COVID-19 are why they do not wish to sign the paperwork in person, according to a new legal opinion. Secretary of State Bill Gardner and Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald have said the risk of the novel coronavirus calls for loosening up the requirement in state law that voter registration business has to be done at the city or town clerk’s office. “Registrants who are unable to register to vote in person because of illness from COVID-19 or because they fear registering in person may expose themselves or others to COVID-19 may use absentee registration,” Gardner and MacDonald ruled. Those seeking to register to vote by mail must request by mail, email, fax or phone to be sent these voter registration forms. Once the voter receives the forms, they still must have someone witness signing those documents.

New Hampshire: Officials grapple with how to prepare for mail-in voting in November | Patrick O’Grady/Granite State News Collaborative

What was once reserved for a narrowly defined group in New Hampshire, absentee balloting for the state primary on Sept. 8 and general election on Nov. 3 is now essentially open to every voter in the state as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That could mean a flood of absentee ballots that would have to be processed on Election Day, the only day they can be opened under current state law. “We are probably going to get inundated with absentee ballots,” Laconia City Clerk Cheryl Hebert said, echoing a similar concern expressed by other clerks. State law lays out in detail the absentee balloting process, including voter eligibility. Before that eligibility was expanded on April 10 to allow anyone concerned with the coronavirus to vote absentee, only voters who would be out of town on Election Day, unable to vote at the polls because of employment, had a physical disability or claimed a religious observance could receive the privilege.

New Hampshire: State Election Officials: Any Voter Can Cast Absentee Ballot Due to COVID-19 | Casey McDermottNHPR

Any New Hampshire voter who has concerns about showing up to vote in-person due to COVID-19 will be able to request an absentee ballot in this year’s elections, according to a memo released Friday by the New Hampshire Secretary of State and Attorney General.  “Absentee voting is permitted in any circumstance where the voter is under medical advice – whether it is individualized advice or general advice to the public – to avoid being in places like a polling place,” the memo reads. While two-thirds of states allow voters to use absentee ballots without providing an excuse, New Hampshire voting laws limit absentee ballot usage to those who meet certain state-approved criteria. The move to expand absentee voting comes as election administrators across the country are scrambling to adjust plans to keep voters — and pollworkers — safe. When applying for an absentee ballot, a New Hampshire voter must indicate whether one of the following circumstances apply: they plan to be out of town on Election Day; or they can’t appear at the polls due to a religious observance, due to work or caregiving obligations, or due to illness or disability.

New Hampshire: Ballot machines clog due to increased use of hand sanitizer | Erin Nolan/Eagle Tribune

Locals’ coronavirus concerns appear to have prompted some difficulties during Tuesday’s municipal elections in New Hampshire, according to Atkinson Town Clerk Julianna Hale. Hale said that both of Atkinson’s ballot scanners were temporarily clogged by ballots that were wet with disinfectant or hand sanitizer. “It is definitely the year of coronavirus,” she said, referencing the highly contagious, flu-like illness commonly called COVID-19 that has prompted multiple states, including Massachusetts, to declare a state of emergency. She said that some voters brought their own alcohol-based disinfectant to clean both their hands and the voting booths. When ballots came into contact with the disinfectant, she said, they began to break down and clog the machine. “The disinfectant is weakening the paper structure,” Hale said. “That’s what I’m seeing, anyway. I am not an expert, but that is what I am seeing.” The issue was only able to be remedied by calling LHS Associates, the company that distributes the machines.

New Hampshire: Why did the primary go smoothly with record turnout? Low tech is good tech | Geoff Forester and David Brooks/Concord Monitor

A nationally known computer hacker, a term he wears proudly, helped keep an eye on New Hampshire’s primary Tuesday but says you didn’t need computer smarts to see that it went well. “One big thing is no lines. When you go around the United States, usually the first thing you see if there are problems are long lines of people who can’t get to vote,” said Harri Hursti, a cybersecurity analyst who founded DefCon, the nation’s best-known gathering of people interested in computer security. Hursti has worked with the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office since about 2005, when he met Secretary of State Bill Gardner at a conference. His presence here for Tuesday’s primary was of particular importance because of the meltdown of the Iowa caucuses caused largely by the use of an untested app. During a discussion Wednesday morning as election officials completed counting votes from around the state he was almost effusive about how things went.

New Hampshire: Windsor’s Oak Voting Machine Still Works After Only 130 Years (Eat Your Heart Out Iowa) | Paula Tracy/InDepthNH

There “ain’t no app” to mess up voting in this town of 122 registered voters. Just an oak ballot box that since 1892 has been collecting the paper ballots on election day with a hand crank. Yup, it’s still used today. Then the ballots are counted by hand. On the 100th anniversary of the New Hampshire Primary, Secretary of State William Gardner stopped by in the tiny town of Windsor to see the box, with its hand-cut dovetail corners. It dings happily as Pat Hines, election moderator, feeds each ballot into the antique box, still with its original hardware intact. By noon, 18 of the town’s 122 registered voters had come by and added two new ones in same-day voting. Perhaps some of the success for the primary and its 100 years has to do with flinty, thrifty Yankee towns like Windsor who decided the wood box and paper did not need to be updated and have stuck with the tried and true.

New Hampshire: How New Hampshire votes: Pencils and paper | Ben Popken/NBC News

New Hampshire’s election system is decidedly old school: paper ballots hand-marked by voters. That’s mostly a good thing, election technology experts told NBC News. After Iowa’s caucuses were thrown off in part due to a faulty smartphone app, election technology is now the focus of national scrutiny. But like any election system, New Hampshire’s isn’t bulletproof. Aging equipment and a few tweaks to its system for 2020 still present opportunities for confusion or disruption for Tuesday’s vote. When asked about his state’s election security during a meeting of the state’s Ballot Law Commission before the 2018 midterms, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner held up a pencil. “Want me to give it to you and see if you can hack this pencil?” Gardner said. “We have this pencil. This is how people vote in this state. And you can’t hack this pencil.” The biggest immediate difference between the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary is in the format itself. Iowa uses a caucus system in which people physically and publicly line up and go through rounds of “realignment” depending on which candidates receive enough support. New Hampshire, like most other states, uses a primary, in which voters largely cast secret paper ballots, as in the general election.

New Hampshire: Primary might be the most technophobic election in the country. | Aaron Mak/Slate

There will be no app malfunctions during the New Hampshire primary for one simple reason: There will be no apps. In the troubled aftermath of the Iowa caucuses, officials in charge of the state’s elections on Tuesday are touting their stubbornly analog approach to voting. Rather than overhauling polling places with mobile apps and voting machines, the Granite State has long opted to stick with democracy’s old faithfuls: pencils and paper ballots. According to officials, not only does the state’s electoral Luddism result in fewer glitches, but it also acts as an old-school cybersecurity measure. “You can’t hack a pencil” has become something of a catchphrase for New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner in the run-up to the primary. Most polling places in New Hampshire use printed voting registration lists, instead of tablets and laptops, to check people in (poll workers in North Carolina, in contrast, recently had trouble with getting poll books to function on laptops). People then receive a paper ballot, though voters with disabilities can use voting machines, as is required by federal law. The machines, however, ultimately mark a physical ballot. The ballots then go through optical scanners that have all their external ports except for the one for power disabled, and which are programmed by computers disconnected from the internet.

New Hampshire: Ballot-counting machines are two decades old, with no replacement in sight | David Brooks/Concord Monitor

Experienced New Hampshire voters will see something quite familiar when they cast their primary ballots Tuesday: A vote-counting machine that hasn’t changed in more than two decades. The AccuVote optical reader has been part of Granite State elections since the early 1990s, when it was first accepted by the Secretary of State’s office. It’s a 14-pound box that looks like an oversized laptop computer sitting on top of a collection bin. As each voter leaves the polling place, poll workers slip their ballot into the AccuVote slot and the machine bounces light off the paper. Sensors tally filled-in circles next to candidates’ names and then the ballot falls into the bin below the reader. After polls close, the reader prints out the results, with all the paper ballots available for a recount. Other technologies have come and gone over the years but AccuVote has remained, and today is still the state’s only legal ballot-counting technology. On primary day it will be used in 118 towns and 73 city wards, leaving the other 100 or so towns in the state, including several in the Concord area, to count ballots on election night by hand.

New Hampshire: New Hampshire is not Iowa, but some voting concerns remain | Ethan DeWitt/Concord Monitor

It’s not clear exactly where the trouble started in Iowa. Perhaps it was user error that caused many of the precincts to report irregular vote totals in last Monday’s caucus, prompting Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez to call for a partial re-canvass. Perhaps it can all be attributed to technical failures with a mobile reporting app. It could have been partly related to unfamiliarity with new caucus rules that added increased reporting requirements. Whatever the cause, the effect of the days-long delay in results was clear. Candidates were left frustrated, party officials ashamed and voters confused. This week, New Hampshire’s governor and secretary of state called a throng of reporters to the State House and took to a podium, anxious to promote a counter-message: No worries here. “Given the news and uncertainty out of Iowa, it’s important that we assure the public that the systems we have in place here in New Hampshire are truly beyond reproach,” said Sununu.

New Hampshire: Paper Ballots Are Hard to Hack, But That’s Only Part of the Election Security Puzzle | Casey McDermott/New Hampshire Public Radio

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has long projected confidence about the security of the state’s elections. In the fall of 2016, as national security officials were warning state elections offices to “be vigilant and seek cybersecurity assistance” from federal partners, Gardner declined — saying New Hampshire didn’t need the extra help. “We have a system that, we don’t have to be concerned that it’s going to be something different this time because of some imaginary foreign element out there or something that might be interfering with this election,” Gardner said at the time. Since then, Gardner — the nation’s longest serving elections chief — continued to downplay the risk facing New Hampshire. When asked about election security at a meeting of the state’s Ballot Law Commission a few months before the 2018 midterms, he had a simple response. “You want to know about being hacked? You see this pencil here?” Gardner said, holding one up for emphasis. “Want me to give it to you and see if you can hack this pencil? We have this pencil. This is how people vote in this state. And you can’t hack this pencil.”

New Hampshire: Election security looms ahead of primary | Jake Lahut/Keene Sentinel

Amid ongoing efforts by foreign entities to influence American democracy, concerns have arisen nationwide about election security. At a 2018 “hackathon” in Florida, an 11-year-old was able to electronically break into a replica of the Sunshine State’s voter rolls in a matter of minutes, changing names and even election tallies. Legislation that would give states a total of $1 billion to require backup paper ballots in precincts nationwide — to be used alongside electronic machines to ensure an accurate recount if those machines are hacked — has been stalled in Washington by the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate. With each state using different election laws under the hyper-localized American system, the election security landscape remains complicated in the first general-election year since the Russian meddling efforts. An early test of voter confidence will come in the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation primary next month.

New Hampshire: Dixville Notch Finds Enough People to Keep First-in-the-Nation Voting Title | Kathy McCormack/Associated Press

A tiny New Hampshire community whose tradition of being among the first to cast ballots for president in primaries and the general election was endangered now has enough people to go ahead, the town moderator said Thursday.”We’re all a go,” said Tom Tillotson, of Dixville Notch. Dixville Notch has been in the spotlight for nearly 60 years for casting votes just after midnight in the first presidential primary and in November general elections. But last year, the attorney general’s office said the community was missing an official who is needed to hold an election come the Feb. 11 primary. The person who held that position had moved away. That left Dixville Notch with just four residents — Tillotson, his wife, his son and another person. If the community couldn’t find a fifth person in time to fill a selectman vacancy, it would have needed to contact the secretary of state’s office for assistance in joining nearby municipalities in order to vote. Resident No. 5 is Les Otten, developer of the Balsams resort, where the voting tradition began. Otten said he plans to move to Dixville Notch from Greenwood, Maine, ahead of the primary. He already owns several properties in the New Hampshire community and is working on a $186 million redevelopment project in the area.

New Hampshire: Dixville Notch may have to ditch traditional midnight voting | Kathy McCormack/Associated Press

A tiny, isolated community near the Canadian border known for casting ballots just after the stroke of midnight in presidential elections may need to forfeit that tradition in 2020. Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, has been in the spotlight for years for voting first in the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary and in November general elections. But the attorney general’s office recently said the community is currently missing a required official in order to hold an election come the Feb. 11 primary. Dixville Notch has shared midnight voting with two other places. One is Hart’s Location, a small town in the White Mountains that started the early voting tradition in 1948 to accommodate railroad workers who had to be at work before normal voting hours. Hart’s Location suspended the midnight voting in 1964 and brought it back in 1996. The town of Millsfield, 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Dixville Notch, had midnight voting as far back as 1952, but stopped after a while. It decided to revive the early voting in 2016. Dixville drew notice after Neil Tillotson, who bought a resort called the Balsams, arranged for early voting at the hotel beginning in 1960. Tillotson, who ran a rubber factory and is credited with inventing the latex balloon, died in 2001 at age 102.

New Hampshire: Secretary of State Gardner skips regional election security forum | Paul Briand/SeacoastOnline

Citing concerns about federal security agencies running state elections, N.H. Secretary of State William Gardner declined to attend an election security forum this week in his own back yard, at the University of New Hampshire. The forum’s host, Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, said the forum served as an opportunity for New England states and federal agencies to share information about threats to the 2020 election and how to protect against them. Matthew McCann, regional director of the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and organizer of the event, called Gardner’s concerns a “misperception” of what the forum was all about. Gardner cited two reasons for not participating in the two-day New England Regional State Election Security Forum organized by CISA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). One was the closed-door nature of the forum at UNH, his alma mater, and the other was a concern the forum served as a platform to legitimize federal security agency oversight and control of state elections, something he said should never happen. Invitees included secretaries of state from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, as well as representatives from DHS, U.S. Secret Service, FBI and National Guard.

New Hampshire: Voter residency law challenged in New Hampshire | Associated Press

A New Hampshire law that will make residency a condition of voting in the state unconstitutionally restricts students’ right to vote, the American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday in a lawsuit. Under current law, New Hampshire is the only state that doesn’t require residency. The federal lawsuit filed against Secretary of State William Gardner and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald was brought on behalf of two Dartmouth College students. They say the law, which takes effect July 1, burdens their right to vote by requiring new voters to shift their home state driver’s licenses and registrations to New Hampshire. “Under this law, I have to pay to change my California license to be a New Hampshire one,” one of the students, Maggie Flaherty, said in a statement. “If I vote and don’t change my license within 60 days, I could even be charged with a misdemeanor offense with up to one year in jail.

New Hampshire: Amid Election Scrutiny, Dixville Notch’s Midnight Voting Tradition Could Be At Risk | NHPR

Once every four years, for a brief moment, it seems the whole world turns its eyes to Dixville Notch. Since 1960, voters in this tiny Coos County community have been casting their ballots just after the stroke of midnight to mark the official start of the New Hampshire presidential primary. Of course, Dixville Notch isn’t the only place in New Hampshire that opens its polls at midnight. But it’s kept its tradition running the longest, so it gets most of the press coverage. But Dixville Notch has lately found itself under a different kind of spotlight: from the New Hampshire attorney general’s office.

New Hampshire: State Supreme Court denies access to voter database in suit over registration law | Legal Newsline

A request to produce a voters database that was ordered by a lower court as evidence in a lawsuit was denied by the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Chief Justice Robert Lynn issued a 10-page ruling on Jan. 24, vacating the New Hampshire Superior Court’s order in the lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Democratic Party, and several individuals in a challenge to a voter registration law. The high court concluded that the Superior Court erred ordering the state’s secretary of state and attorney general to produce the New Hampshire Centralized Voter Registration Database, concluding that the list is “exempt from disclosure by statute.” The League of Women Voters of New Hampshire the New Hampshire Democratic Party sued over the validity of some state voting laws.

New Hampshire: Bills would make it easier for older residents to vote | Associated Press

While much of the focus has been on young voters, New Hampshire lawmakers also are considering changes to make it easier for older residents to cast their ballots. The House Election Law Committee will hold public hearings Tuesday on two bills related to older voters. One would allow unrelated caregivers to deliver absentee ballots on behalf of voters who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The other would allow anyone age 60 or older to vote up to five weeks before an election. Rep. Richard Komi, a Democrat from Manchester, is the sponsor of the second bill, which he said is partly inspired by his 75-year-old mother. He wants to help elderly residents who are in poor health or who worry about inclement weather to vote when it is most convenient for them.

New Hampshire: Democrats denied access to voter database in lawsuit over election law | Union Leader

The state Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Secretary of State does not have provide a detailed voter database to the N.H. Democratic Party, the League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging Senate Bill 3, the new law on voter verification. A lower court had ordered release of the database to the plaintiffs, who claimed they needed certain information from it to make their case. “We conclude that the database is exempt from disclosure by statute, and we therefore vacate the trial court’s order,” states the unanimous order of the five justices.

New Hampshire: Constitutional Amendment Would Create An Independent Redistricting Panel in New Hampshire | NHPR

Lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday on a proposed constitutional amendment that would create an independent commission to draw boundaries for state elections. Current law leaves the responsibility of redistricting to the New Hampshire Legislature. Supporters of this measure say that allows for gerrymandering, or the ability of the majority party to draw boundary lines in its favor. Democratic State Rep. Ellen Read, a supporter of the measure, said she’s mentioned limiting gerrymandering to members of her party in the past.