Election 2022 live blog: State House results trickling in
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NHPR’s news team will be talking with voters and election officials at polling places across the state throughout the day. Stay tuned here for updates on how the voting process is going and how the results are shaping up after the polls close. Just be aware: It could take a while for local election officials to finalize the results, as was the case during the state primary, so it’s possible we won’t know the winners on Tuesday night.
Some State House results trickling in
Results are coming in for state Senate and Executive Council district races. The Associated Press has called six state Senate races.
Four Democrat incumbents won, including Donna Soucy, in the 18th District; Lou D'Allesandro, in the 20th District; Suzanne Prentiss, in the 5th district, and David Watters, in the 4th District.
Bill Gannon, an incumbent Republican, won in the 23rd district.
Democrat Debra Altschiller won her race in District 24.
None of the Executive Council races have been called as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, with more than 70 percent of the votes counted in each of those.
Hassan defeats Bolduc for U.S. Senate
Hassan, a former governor, had been considered vulnerable given her narrow win in 2016. But her odds improved after popular Gov. Chris Sununu took a pass at challenging her, and Republicans nominated Bolduc, a retired Army general who has espoused conspiracy theories about vaccines and the 2020 presidential election.
“I promise you, Democrats, independents and Republicans, the people who voted for me and those who did not, that I will keep working every day to serve you faithfully, to listen to you and to work with you to address the challenges facing your families, our state and our country," Hassan told cheering supporters in Manchester.
Hassan spent much of the campaign casting Bolduc as “the most extreme nominee for U.S. Senate that New Hampshire has seen in modern history,” and pouncing on his past statements on abortion, Social Security and the 2020 presidential election.
“He keeps trying to conceal that from Granite Staters,” she said in a debate. “He’s spent over a year in New Hampshire stoking the big lie... and former President Trump just confirmed that he’s an election denier this week.”
Bolduc initially promoted Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election but after winning the Republican primary said it wasn’t stolen and then, more recently, said that he wasn’t sure. Trump endorsed Bolduc late in the campaign, calling him a “strong and proud ‘Election Denier."
“Had he stayed strong and true, he would have won easily,” Trump wrote of Bolduc on his social media platform Tuesday night.
Nearly two years after Trump’s defeat, there has been no evidence of widespread fraud. Numerous reviews in the battleground states where Trump disputed his loss have affirmed the results, courts have rejected dozens of lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies, and even Trump’s own Department of Justice concluded the results were accurate.
Bolduc, who insisted voters weren’t interested in rehashing 2020, sought to both harness dissatisfaction over the economy and draw upon the connections he forged from the nearly constant grassroots campaigning he did after he unsuccessfully sought the nomination for the state’s other senate seat two years ago. And he spent much of the campaign trying to link Hassan to Biden administration policies he said were hurting Americans.
In his concession speech, Bolduc urged his supporters to hold elected officials accountable.
“We have created a rumble. We have created an idea that government should not tread on its people and that career politicians must change,” he said in Manchester. “We didn’t win today, but imagine if we continue to come together, if we join hands, if we decide that they work for us and we don’t work for them.”
“If we can do this even in losing we will win,” he said.
Hassan defeated Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte in 2016 to become the second woman in American history to be elected both governor and U.S. senator, following fellow New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.
Leavitt concedes 1st District race to Pappas
The Associated Press hadn't yet issued an official race call, but 1st District Republican nominee Karoline Leavitt addressed supporters late Tuesday night to concede the race.
'My favorite part of this campaign was the incredible people I met,' says Tom Sherman in concession statement
Sununu wins a fourth term as governor
Gov. Chris Sununu cruised to a rare fourth term as New Hampshire governor, defeating his Democratic challenger state Sen. Tom Sherman.
“It really is a team effort. It is never about the individual. I say this all the time - i try to preach it across the country," Sununu said in a victory speech.
"Leadership is important, but it ain’t about us. It is not. I have got to represent 1.4 million people. And the best part of my job is that I get to be super selfish. My job is to put them first every single time.”
Sununu is likely to head into his fourth term in the corner office with significant political momentum and a growing national profile, with the opportunity to expand on the conservative record he’s built over the past six years.
The AP called the race for Sununu at 8:32 p.m.
For more, see Josh Rogers' reporting here.
Derry election officials keep polls open for those lined up in cars at 8 p.m.
Reports of long lines leading to the Derry polling place surfaced earlier Tuesday, and traffic remained backed up into the evening.
While the polls were scheduled to close at 8 p.m. sharp, election officials said anyone in line in their cars at 8 p.m. would be allowed to vote.
Some voters told NHPR they were waiting in their cars for more than an hour to get to the Derry polling place. Some said they decided to park and walk instead.
Derry, one of the largest towns in the state, has just one polling place. As of the September state primary, its voter checklist included the names of more than 19,000 voters.
In Windham, some voters are specifically asking for their ballots to be counted by hand
Voter turnout was high in Windham Tuesday, and election workers said things were going well.
In 2020, Windham's ballot counting devices incorrectly tallied the results in a state legislative race at the polls on Election Night. The error was caught and corrected during a recount, but the situation sparked a closely watched audit and some election reforms to prevent future errors — including a new law designed to catch ballots that appear to be "overvoted," meaning the voter appears to have selected too many candidates and ensure they're accurately counted.
This time around, Windham Town Clerk Nicole Merrill said it's been mostly smooth sailing. She has seen an uptick in the number of people writing in candidates and specifically asking for their vote to be hand-counted, rather than using the voting machines. (Election officials in some other communities have reported receiving similar requests.)
Merrill said she has also seen some overvoted ballots, some of which could be honest mistakes.
“If there is the overvote factor, right, the machine is now programmed to not accept or acknowledge it’s there, so it returns the ballot to the voter," she said. "So this initiates a conversation.”
Some New Hampshire residents who have expressed mistrust in the state's election system and voting machines have organized campaigns to encourage voters to purposefully overvote their ballots in order to force them to be counted by hand. Election officials at the state and local level said this could slow down the results after the polls close.
Echoing other election officials, Hampton's town moderator cautions: Counting ballots could take a while tonight
Hampton Town Moderator Bob Casassa said earlier this afternoon turnout was shaping up to be strong — and perhaps on pace for a record.
As of 3 p.m., 5,400 voters had cast a ballot, and the town had about 1,300 absentee ballots out. For the 2018 midterms, Hampton saw about 8,300 voters total.
Casassa said the election was going smoothly. Processing results, however, may take longer than usual.
"We anticipate that our tabulations will be extended this evening because we have a number of hand-count, full-count ballots that will have to process," said Casassa, referring to some voters who requested their cast ballot be counted by hand.
Communities across the state are also anticipating potential delays in vote-counting for similar reasons tonight.
Desire for change, concerns about the economy and abortion on voters' minds in Concord
Election workers in Concord say the stream of voters has been consistent all day, and they’re expecting a surge before polls close at 7 p.m.
Among the volunteers helping the polling run smoothly was Mabel Wheeler. At age 76, she signed up after getting an email this year that the city needed more volunteers. She was stationed at Ward 10 in east Concord, which she’s lived in her whole life.
“I tell people it's almost like Old Home Day,” she said. “Because you see your neighbors that you may not have seen — especially with COVID — you may not have seen them for a couple years."
Outside the polling place, Concord resident Tom Bloomquist held a sign for a local Republican running for state representative. Bloomquist said he has more confidence in the voting system this year than in 2020, but he expressed concern about the direction of the country if incumbents win reelection.
“I think we need a change — seriously, big time,” he said.
Becky Thompson, also of Concord, said border security, the economy and abortion were top of mind as she cast her ballot today.
“I don't think the government should be making medical decisions for anybody for any reason,” she said. “And ironically when you hear people say ‘Well we're talking about a life.' Well, what about the mother's life?”
Despite long lines, one student says voting in Durham was 'easier than the exams I take at UNH'
The town of Durham is reporting strong — though what doesn’t appear, at this point, to be record — turnout at the polls.
Town Manager Todd Selig said approximately 3,500 votes had been cast as of 3 p.m., with about 7,000 to 7,500 expected by the time polls close.
Election officials there said they’re processing a large number of Election Day registrations from University of New Hampshire students, as is often the case. A reporter witnessed a line stretching up and down the hallways inside of Oyster River High School, the local polling place.
Aubrey Haskell, a sophomore at the school, said the queues were moving swiftly.
“The process today was really simple," Haskell said. "I showed up, I had done my research beforehand so I knew what I was doing, filled in the bubbles and turned it in. Easier than the exams I take at UNH.”
At one polling place in Keene, turnout feels 'more like a presidential election than a midterm'
Keene’s Ward 1 polling place saw a steady stream of college students this afternoon as Keene State College ran shuttles to and from campus. Some, like Kaitlyn Duffelmeyer, were voting for the first time.
“It was kind of confusing, but they were really good at talking me through the process,” she said.
Many of them listed abortion as a top issue. Erin Bennett said she’s voted before, but the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade pushed her to be more proactive.
“What’s on my mind, and a lot of my friends’ minds, this election is abortion rights,” Bennett said.
Ward 1 Moderator Bob Lyle said turnout had been high as of mid-afternoon, with 1,100 ballots cast by about 4:30 p.m.
“Usually there would not be quite this much turnout,” he said. “… This is more like a presidential election than a midterm.”
Loudon voters turn out for democracy, economy
While casting his ballot in Loudon, Al Beauregard said this year’s elections are a crucial moment in the future of America’s democracy.
“I mean without it, there’s no – we’re not even here,” he said. “And I really feel it’s being threatened and important to get out and vote.”
James Howell, a retired postal service worker and another Loudon voter, said “the economy and security of our country” were top of mind for him this year. Also important, he said, is “the southern border” and “jobs for our country.”
Voter registration lines very long in Durham
Grocery prices, abortion rights among concerns for Nashua voters
Barry Cardin has been the clerk at Nashua's Ward 3 since 2019. This is one of the most diverse polling locations in New Hampshire, and Cardin said a lot of Latino voters show up enthusiastically.
“We would love it if more Spanish speakers volunteered with us here," he said.
New Hampshire started making Spanish language voting materials available for the first time this year. But at the polls, Cardin said he and other poll workers rely on their basic knowledge of the language.
“At least we have my broken Spanish,” he said.
Anisha Khalifa and her father are from India. He has voted in five elections before, but this Anisha's second time. Her journey to become a citizen was long, but she is happy to be able to call herself an American. She found time between her two jobs to come to vote.
“This is my duty,” she said.
Grocery prices are their family's main concern, and they hope their senators do something about it.
Tom Tran went to vote in Nashua around noon, finding a space to vote between his day job and his duties as a full-time college student. His family is from Vietnam, and he said they were all planning to go at different times of the day. He said their motivation is preserving abortion rights.
Sandra Gonzales is a Nashua resident from the Dominican Republic. As a first-time voter, she said what is first in her mind is the right to abortion if the baby has an anomaly. She puts herself in the perspective of the women in that position and worries about how they can arrange their lives when pressed to give birth.
“I am a single mom, and I just keep that in mind,” she said.
On the ground in Greenland, literally
Swanzey voters describe voting, registration as quick and easy
Election workers said Swanzey saw strong turnout early in the day, with more than 1,200 voters in the town of 7,000 having cast ballots by midday.
“We’ve got what I call an excellent voter turnout,” Moderator Bruce Tatro said. “We have over 4,100 registered voters, and we’ve already had a quarter of them come in.”
Despite the steady traffic, voters described the process as quick and easy.
“You’re just in and out — boom, boom,” said resident Joe Magna.
Zachary John moved back to New Hampshire from California a few months ago and hadn’t gotten around to registering yet. Doing so at the polls today was “surprisingly” easy.
“My grandmother needed a ride,” he said. “So I brought her, and some mail, and that was that.”
In Rye, 'process is going great so far, knock on wood'
In Rye, more than 1,400 ballots had been cast as of 12 p.m., according to town moderator Robert Eaton.
“It’s been busy all day, he says. “When the polls opened, the line went out the front door and halfway down the building.”
Despite the crowds, the town is reporting no irregularities and an orderly flow inside the polling location.
“Process is going great so far, knock on wood,” he added.
After casting her ballot, Rye resident Nancy Risley said there was one main issue on her mind this election.
“The economy, the economy, the economy, the economy,” she said.
Secretary of State announces four wards chosen for post-election audit
The Secretary of State’s office announced plans to audit the ballot counting devices used in Tilton, Pembroke, Somersworth’s Ward 3 and Durham following Tuesday’s election.
Post-election audits are common across the country, but until this year New Hampshire had no system for conducting this kind of review. A new bipartisan law required an audit of some state primary results and left it up to the Secretary of State to decide whether to audit some general election results, as well.
The state primary audit looked at the results in Hopkinton and Laconia’s Ward 1, finding that the machines in both communities performed accurately.
Election workers try to build trust around N.H.'s elections
As skepticism in the election process has intensified following the 2020 elections, election officials are doing a lot of extra work to prove that New Hampshire’s processes have always been transparent and trustworthy. But that’s also made their jobs more demanding than ever before. And while they’re glad to try to reassure voters, they sometimes wonder whether all of this heightened transparency is really making a difference.
Across the country, election workers and town clerks have received unfounded accusations of election tampering, and even threats. Here in New Hampshire, some seasoned election workers say that though they haven’t received outright threats, they know they’re being carefully watched by a growing number of citizens concerned that someone, is doing something, off-kilter to ballots.
To be clear: There’s no evidence that widespread fraud or tampering has occurred in New Hampshire. But that hasn’t stopped false narratives around election fraud from taking root here.
Manchester voters turning out for reproductive, LGBTQ rights
Rosemary Rodriguez is Dominican and has been voting for 30 years at her ward. Her primary motivation for voting in this election is to protect women's reproductive rights.
“We have fought for those rights for many years, and no one should take them away,” she said.
Kendall Crepeau went with her grandmother to vote in Ward 7 at St. Anthony Community Center. It is her first election, and she said she wouldn’t be motivated if not for “LGBTQ rights are at risk,” she said, “we are a community that needs to be represented.”
Leanne Rosenberg works in the public education system and considers it imperative that children learn about democracy. She brought her son Benjamin to Ward 5. He was excited to see how to cast a ballot and said people should be concerned about preserving the integrity of the electoral process.
'This feels great,' says first time voter
For ten years, Manchester's Marush Alhamis, who emigrated from Tanzania, has been waiting for the time he finally could vote in an election. “This feels great,” he said. Though he is worried other people from Africa who are not proficient in English could have problems understanding the process; he asks for more language access in the next elections.
After years of voters asking for it, the Secretary of State's office is starting to expand language access - for the first time, N.H. is providing official voting information in Spanish, French and Mandarin. More on that here.
Democracy, economy among issues turning out voters in Winchester
The polls in Winchester saw steady traffic this morning. By 9 a.m., more than 140 of the town’s 2,200 or so registered voters had cast ballots at the local school.
Peter Eisenstadter used to teach English there, and came back Tuesday morning to vote. He said his biggest concern is that false claims about the last election are being used to undermine democracy.
“My major issue was the threat to democracy, which I take very personally, frankly,” he said. “My family were refugees from Europe and came here because of what happened in the 30s. And I think they would be horrified to see the same thing starting to happen here.”
Other voters named the economy or abortion rights as top issues.
For Kevin Brostek, the rising cost of fuel and other products was top of mind. He owns an auto sales and repair shop in nearby Troy, and says rising cost have hit him and his customers.
“I think a lot of people are feeling the pinch right now — whether they’re gonna eat or heat their house,” he said. That also affects businesses like his, he added. “It reflects on people that can’t pay their bills. You know, their car breaks down, they don’t have the money to fix it.”
Voters have questions about Questions 1 and 2
Jennifer Farmer, moderator of Ward 5 in Manchester said there are a lot of people confused about the constitutional questions on this year's ballot. She said people complain because “the questions are not worded in a form that is readable and understanding.”
Question one asks whether the state should eliminate the register of probate position: a county-level elected office whose duties were mostly stripped in 2011. A yes vote is to eliminate the position and a no vote is to preserve it. Question two asks whether the state should hold a convention to alter its constitution. The last time the state held a constitutional convention was in 1984.
Above average early turnout in Portsmouth's Ward 4
Portsmouth's Ward 4 has seen more voters than usual for a midterm election, acting moderator Sharon Nichols said.
“We opened at 8, and by 9 o’clock we had over 240 people vote," Nichols said. "That’s a first for us. We’ve never had that kind of turnout this early. It’s been constant — the line’s been constant.”
Three N.H. towns are testing open source ballot counting machines
The only other place in the U.S. that uses open source software ballot machines for elections is five Mississippi counties.— Jeongyoon Han (@jeongyoonh) November 7, 2022
If successful, N.H. state officials say these machines could be the answer to calls for increased transparency around elections:
One reason results could take a while on Tuesday night
Loosely organized social media campaigns by those distrustful of elections and voting machines are encouraging voters around the state to force hand counts using overvotes. But voting rights advocates say the effort could exacerbate the issue by making the process more cumbersome. And some towns are preparing for more hand counts by staffing up with more pollworkers.
A ballot is overvoted when a voter selects more candidates than they’re allowed to. Sometimes this happens when a voter makes a mistake, filling in the oval for a candidate and then crossing it out and choosing a different candidate. But voters can also intentionally overvote the ballot by filling in the oval next to their chosen candidate and also selecting the write-in option.
The maneuver is possible because of a new law that requires reprogramming voting machines so they will return overvoted ballots to the voter to be hand-counted by election officials. It was meant to address an issue where inadvertently overvoted ballots weren’t counted, such as what happened in Windham in 2020, but now it’s being used for another purpose entirely.
We want to hear about your experience voting in this year’s elections. Was it easy? Did you run into any hurdles? Did any part of the process surprise you, or make you think differently about how our election system is working? Leave us a voicemail at 603-513-7790 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.