Welcome to September of an even-numbered year – which means there’s a primary election coming in New Hampshire. On Tuesday, September 8, New Hampshire voters from both major parties will make the choices that we’ll see reflected on the general election ballot in November.
Don’t just rely on the clusters of signs at every intersection in town. Do some homework and head to the polls with a purpose.
What voters need to know
Your town or city clerk’s office will be able to point you to everything you need to know about the election: a sample ballot, where to vote, the hours the polls are open, absentee ballot procedure, same-day registration procedure. Even if your town hall has limited public hours due to COVID restrictions, you can learn a lot through a phone call or a visit to your town’s website.
The New Hampshire Secretary of State website is another good source for information. Look for the “elections” drop-down menu at sos.nh.gov. Printable sample ballots for each town are available there, too, for Democrats and for Republicans.
New Hampshire is an open-primary state, which means that if you are a registered voter who is “undeclared” (like me), you can vote in a primary election by requesting a party’s ballot when you go to the polls. If you do that, be sure to re-register as Undeclared before leaving the polling place; that’s simply a matter of a signature on a form, and the poll workers can hand you the right form.
Whether from your town clerk or from the Secretary of State website, be certain to get a sample ballot for your party before you go to the polls. You may be surprised at the number of primary races you’ll be voting on, from U.S. Senator down to county commissioner.
Many state representatives and senators don’t have primary competition, but the ones that do will need your attention on September 8.
Once you see the names of the candidates, you might want to learn more about them. Here’s a hint: if you’re on Facebook, you can probably find a Facebook page for each campaign. Some savvy candidates are using Facebook Live for virtual meetings with voters, in lieu of the in-person meet-and-greets that are less common under COVID restrictions.
Some votes by New Hampshire legislators
Earlier, I provided links to some life-issue votes from the 2019-20 sessions in the New Hampshire House and Senate. These results will tell you something about the incumbents, who may or may not be running again. You need to check your sample ballot to find out.
Since then, the Senate has voted on the abortion insurance mandate bill, HB 685. Here’s the link to that vote, where a “No” was what I wanted to see since the motion was Ought to Pass (with amendment). The House had no roll call, and in a voice vote it concurred with the Senate action.