Casey McDermott

Investigative & Data Reporter/Editor

Credit John W. Hession

Casey McDermott covers politics and policy, with a focus on data and accountability reporting.

Prior to joining NHPR, Casey worked at The Concord Monitor and held internships at ProPublica, the Student Press Law Center and the Chronicle of Higher Education. 

She studied journalism and sociology at Penn State but spent most of her days (and nights) in the newsroom of the independent student newspaper, The Daily Collegian. The Collegian was recognized nationally for its work during Casey's time as its managing editor and editor-in-chief.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The rules for how New Hampshire politicians can spend their campaign money could be tightened in the coming year.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Did you know that people who are incarcerated pre-trial, or serving time for a misdemeanor, have a right to vote by absentee ballot in New Hampshire?

Not many do. But some lawmakers are hoping to change that.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

People who register to vote in New Hampshire and plan to drive here will have to obtain an in-state drivers license within 60 days of registering, if not sooner, according to guidance issued by state agencies who enforce elections administration and driving laws. 

NHPR

(Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from the couple charged with the voting violations.)

A couple who split their time between New Hampshire and Massachusetts pled guilty on Monday to charges that they voted in both states during the November 2016 election, but they told NHPR they only did so to avoid prolonging an already onerous court battle with the state. 

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

State attorneys have been in court the past two weeks defending a new voter registration law known as Senate Bill 3. 

The trial is part of an ongoing debate about voting rights in New Hampshire. NHPR's Casey McDermott has been following the issue closely. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with McDermott about what happens next.

(Editor's note: this transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

Okay, first, can you remind us what this law is all about and what it changed to the voting registration process?

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Two college students who are suing the state over its new voter registration rules took the stand on Thursday as part of an ongoing trial over the future of the law behind them. While both students said they found the law confusing, both acknowledged that it did not prevent them from registering to vote.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

A trial over the voter registration law known as Senate Bill 3 continued in Hillsborough County Superior Court on Wednesday.

The League of Women Voters of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Democratic Party are suing the state over the 2017 law, which added new language to voter registration forms and new steps to the process asking people to prove they live in the community where they’re trying to vote.

Casey McDermott / NHPR

You might have heard that the New Hampshire primary is coming up on a big 100-year milestone in 2020. The Secretary of State’s office has marked the occasion with a commemorative centennial poster and — just last week — a special ceremony featuring the families of people who’ve shaped the primary’s history.

But if the idea of a 100th anniversary sounds familiar, it’s because you might have heard something similar four years ago.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

A federal judge has denied a request from the American Civil Liberties Union and the state Democratic Party to block enforcement of a new New Hampshire residency law, but has asked the state Supreme Court to clear up several questions about how the law works.

Where are all of these presidential candidates coming from?

If you've lived through a presidential primary in New Hampshire, you've probably wondered this at one point or another. But we also wondered where all of the candidates for president have come from, literally — in other words, what states are most popular for modern New Hampshire presidential primary candidates?

Casey McDermott / NHPR

It's official: The date of the upcoming New Hampshire primary is Feb. 11, 2020.

That announcement came as no surprise, since the Iowa caucuses have long been scheduled for Feb. 3, 2020, and the New Hampshire primary typically follows one week later. But, by law, the New Hampshire primary date isn't official until Secretary of State Bill Gardner says so. And that didn’t happen until Monday afternoon.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The State House ethics rules could be updated soon with stricter guidance about when lawmakers need to sit out of votes because of outside conflicts of interest.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

The implications of New Hampshire’s new residency law for voting and vehicle licensing are still not fully clear, several months after it went into effect and several months before the state’s presidential primary election.

So much about the new residency law remains subject to interpretation, in fact, that a federal judge wants the New Hampshire Supreme Court to certify — or clarify — several questions about how the law works before he tries to assess its constitutionality.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A lawsuit over a controversial new residency law is back in court Thursday morning, this time to decide whether the state could be blocked from enforcing any link between voter registration and vehicle licensing through the 2020 presidential primary election.

New Hampshire voters have a lot of options in the 2020 presidential primary — not only because of the large field of candidates on the left, but also because President Trump is facing a rare challenge within his own party.

In New Hampshire, the most popular political party is no party at all: Undeclared or “independent” voters make up the biggest chunk of the electorate. And heading into the 2020 presidential primary, they are the voters with the most choices to make — not just what candidate to support, but what party's primary to vote in. As Primary Day nears, both voters and campaigns are trying to take advantage of this freedom.

Josh Rogers, NHPR

A State House ethics panel says a top House Democrat violated ethics guidelines by testifying and voting on several pieces of legislation that directly intersected with his position as the paid president of a statewide teachers union. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

If you're a New Hampshire voter who plans to participate in the 2020 presidential primary, you’ll want to double check your party registration this week. This Friday, Oct. 25, is the last day to make any changes to your party registration before the election. 

Legislative Ethics Committee website

New Hampshire lags behind many other states when it comes to making information about lawmakers' financial interests accessible to the public. But its disclosure system is slated to soon move into the digital era — perhaps in time for lawmakers to file electronically for the 2020 legislative session.

Josh Rogers, NHPR

The Legislative Ethics Committee is still weighing how to proceed on a complaint involving one of the top-ranking Democrats at the New Hampshire State House, four months after it first began a “preliminary investigation” into the matter.

Courtesy of the Nadig Family Archive

If you follow New Hampshire politics, you’re probably familiar with the ritual of the midnight vote, where a handful of tiny, mostly rural towns stay up late to cast their ballots as soon as election day dawns.

And you would be forgiven for thinking all the credit for this tradition goes to Neil Tillotson, the bespectacled businessman who was so well known as the face of Dixville Notch’s nocturnal vote that he’s honored with his very own bobblehead at the New Hampshire Historical Society gift shop, complete with a ballot box and all.

State offices that oversee elections and motor vehicle laws have declined to explain what implications, if any, New Hampshire’s new residency standards would have on licensing requirements. That’s despite growing confusion over whether the law could require voters to obtain in-state drivers licenses after casting a ballot.   

While the state has not said definitively that people who vote in New Hampshire would have to get a New Hampshire drivers license under the new law, there are ways to measure how many people could be affected if this turns out to be the case.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

New Hampshire is heading into a busy election season, with municipal contests in November, and the first-in-the-nation presidential primary not far behind. This is the first election season since a new law went into effect that redefined the state’s residency standards.

Supporters have said that the law would bring clarity to New Hampshire’s voting rules, but it’s facing a court challenge from the ACLU and the New Hampshire Democratic Party, who say it will discourage otherwise qualified people from voting.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Almost all of the Democrats running for president will appear at the state party's convention in Manchester this weekend. But long before many of the candidates started showing up at conventions, cookouts and coffee shops, they’ve been steering money toward local Democratic committees and campaigns here in New Hampshire.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

For Democrats looking to court grassroots progressive supporters in New Hampshire, few speaking slots are as coveted as the New Hampshire AFL-CIO’s annual Labor Day breakfast.

Ali Oshinskie / NHPR

A federal lawsuit challenging New Hampshire's new voter residency law will move forward toward a likely January 2020 trial, after state attorneys failed to convince a judge that it should be thrown out because it would not change any voting requirements. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

They can be found shuffling across North State Street on days when the legislative calendar is packed with public hearings. You see them taking notes from the Senate balcony during floor votes, and chatting with lawmakers in the hallways throughout the capitol.

Lobbyists have long been part of the fabric of the New Hampshire State House, helping shape everything from the state budget to the finer points of agritourism policy. But their influence is often hard to measure.

It can be hard to keep track of the details on lobbying spending in New Hampshire. We want to help.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

When they were knocking on doors in Manchester’s Ward 4 ahead of last fall's elections, Reps. Nicole Klein-Knight and Donald Bouchard kept hearing from people who claimed they were ineligible to vote because of past criminal records.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Rep. Joe Alexander, a first-term Republican from Goffstown, used to think he was “an expert on time management.”

“Then,” he said, “I joined the Legislature.” 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The Legislative Ethics Committee voted on Monday to pursue a preliminary investigation into a complaint against New Hampshire House Majority Leader Doug Ley, a Democrat from Jaffrey who also leads one of the state’s largest teachers unions.

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