Casey McDermott | New Hampshire Public Radio

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.

Casey McDermott / NHPR

New Hampshire’s tradition of midnight voting was on display last night. In Dixville Notch, a crowd of reporters, photographers and TV cameras captured the moment when the community’s five registered voters cast their ballots just minutes past midnight. But just up the road, next door in Millsfield, twice as many voters gathered at midnight – with much less fanfare, but a lot of hometown pride.

Sixty-five voters scattered across three communities in Northern New Hampshire cast the first ballots of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary, just after midnight Tuesday morning.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

There are few traditions more closely associated with tomorrow's New Hampshire primary than the midnight vote in a place called Dixville Notch. As Casey McDermott of New Hampshire Public Radio reports, this tradition isn't always what it seems like on TV.

Allegra Boverman

The 2020 New Hampshire primary is Tuesday, Feb 11. Here's a primer on what you need to know before heading to the polls.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

The New Hampshire primary is just eight days away, and will bring with it a caravan of presidential candidates, campaign staffers and national news teams. The state's largest city, Manchester, is eager to capitalize on its impending moment in the political spotlight — and to celebrate its role as the primary's epicenter. 

Casey McDermott / NHPR

At first, the scene at the Manchester field office for the Bernie Sanders campaign looked pretty typical: Volunteers milled around after a presentation from campaign higher-ups, fielding invitations to sign up for canvassing shifts from campaign staffers armed with clipboards.

But in one corner of the room, a smaller group huddled together, listening intently to field organizer Susmik Lama, who was delivering a parallel set of instructions for the final weeks of the campaign — in Nepali.

While many New Hampshire towns still count votes by hand, most of the state’s ballots are tallied by machines. A plan to check that those machines are counting votes correctly was the subject of debate before the House Election Law Committee Tuesday.

Sara Plourde for NHPR

Supporters of redistricting reform in New Hampshire are making another push to put political map-making in the hands of an independent commission rather than lawmakers.

A similar proposal earned widespread bipartisan support last year, but was ultimately vetoed by Governor Chris Sununu.

Related: How gerrymandering in N.H. skewed the 2016 elections

Amidst fears about cybersecurity and the spread of disinformation, New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary — along with the guardian of that tradition - is under scrutiny like never before.

Dan Gorenstein, NHPR

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has long projected confidence about the security of the state’s elections. In the fall of 2016, as national security officials were warning state elections offices to “be vigilant and seek cybersecurity assistance” from federal partners, Gardner declined — saying New Hampshire didn’t need the extra help.

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.

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