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After extended health-related absence, Nashua state lawmaker who sued for remote participation resigns

David Cote participating in a press conference by Zoom in 2022
2022 Zoom Press Conference
Rep. David Cote, who has chronic health conditions, was never sworn in this session. His lawsuit against the Republican majority seeking remote voting has languished in the courts.

Longtime Nashua state Rep. David Cote, who is part of an ongoing lawsuit seeking remote participation in the New Hampshire Legislature, has resigned. The veteran lawmaker did not participate in any votes this session, citing health risks.

Cote, who was first elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in the 1980s and has served in Democratic leadership, was never sworn in after winning election in 2022. He has chronic health conditions and previously stated that exposure to COVID-19 would put him at “extreme risk.”

In 2021, Cote joined a federal lawsuit backed by Democrats that sought the right to participate in House sessions remotely, citing the Americans with Disabilities Act. That case remains unresolved; during the recently completed House session, all lawmakers were required to cast votes in-person.

In a historically closely divided State House, Cote’s absence meant Democrats were short one participant the entire session.

Cote didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on his resignation, which was announced by the New Hampshire House Clerk.

In a social media post, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley noted that while “the NH State Senate allows remote participation by members with health concerns, sadly the NH House GOP majority does not, effectively barring 21 term Rep. David Cote of Nashua from serving.”

Buckley also praised Cote’s service to the people of Nashua, and said his “intellect and wit will be sorely missed.”

On Thursday, Nashua City Clerk Daniel Healy said it wasn’t yet clear if Cote’s seat representing Ward 4 would be on that ballot on Sept. 12, when voters will head to the polls for local primary elections.

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Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University. He can be reached at tbookman@nhpr.org.
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