According to a recent report from the Election Law Journal, New Hampshire is ranked last in the U.S. based on the ease of voting. The study has measured the “cost of voting” during presidential election cycles for all 50 states from 1996 to 2020. These measures include registration deadlines, pre-registration laws, voting inconveniences, automatic voter registration, poll hours, and more. The researchers in the abstract state however that the 2022 report is necessary as it comes at a time when state legislatures across the country pass initiatives that make casting a ballot either easier or harder for voters.
All of this comes as a result of a national politicization of the electoral voting system for the past two years due to false claims of widespread voter fraud. The researchers however, stated they have seen no correlation between restrictions and a drop in voter fraud. Even though New Hampshire allows voters to register at their precinct on Election Day as well as check the status of their mail ballot online or via text or email, it is ranked last in voting access for a multitude of other reasons.
It is one of the few states that banned voter registration drives which are efforts by government authorities, political parties or other entities to help those who are eligible, register to vote. The state also; strictly enforces its photo ID law; does not allow people to automatically register to vote through an agency other than the DMV; does not provide online registration; does not allow voters to cast a ballot at a supercenter instead of a precinct; and does not have a permanent mail voter list. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Hampshire is also one of four states that does not allow any early voting options whether it be in person or by mail.
Secretary of State David Scanlan disagrees with the study in the Election Law Journal, citing that the Granite State for two decades has been among the top 10 states for voter turnout. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Donna Soucy, however, argues that while New Hampshire does perform well in voter turnout, there are ways to improve the state’s voting system to make it easier for voters to cast their ballots. She references the 2020 election cycle that witnessed record breaking voter turnout driven by absentee ballots being allowed for safety reasons during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, even though New Hampshire allowed absentee voting during the pandemic, Republican Governor Chris Sununu vetoed a bill that would have made it a permanent voting option. There are resources at the New Hampshire Department of State website, VOTE.ORG, and Rock the Vote for state residents who have any questions or concerns regarding their registration status, polling locations, important dates, and more.