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N.H. Voters Are Requesting Lots More Absentee Ballots Than In 2016, Officials Say

N.H. Secretary of State
Former U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg and former Gov. John Lynch recently teamed up for a state public service campaign encouraging absentee voting.

New Hampshire voters have already requested four times as many absentee ballots for the September primary as they cast in the same election in 2016, according to state officials. 

In an information session for local pollworkers Thursday morning, Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan said voters have thus far submitted 44,460 absentee ballot requests for the Sept. 8 state primary and 42,115 requests for the Nov. 3 general election. There are still several weeks to go before the primary election, so the final absentee voting totals could be even higher.

(Do you have questions about how voting will work during COVID-19? Send them to, and we'll try to report back with answers or incorporate them into our upcoming voting guide.)

According to state voting records, election officials counted 9,270 absentee ballots in the September 2016 state primary and 75,305 in the November 2016 general election.

State election officials are urging voters to make use of expanded absentee voting rules, which allow any eligible voter to register or vote remotely due to the pandemic. And they've recently enlisted the help of two well-known New Hampshire politicians, former U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg and former Gov. John Lynch — to spread a bipartisan message on the subject.

“Voting absentee means we can have our traditional high turnout, and we can have a safe vote,” Gregg says in the state’s newly released public service announcement. “And," Lynch chimes in, "our democracy depends on it."

Given the high volume of absentee ballots pollworkers will be processing this year, election officials are asking voters to request their absentee ballots as soon as possible. More information on requesting an absentee ballot can be found on the Secretary of State’s website or by contacting your local clerk’s office.

In-person voting will still be available in all communities for both the September primary and the November general election for anyone who prefers that method.

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Casey McDermott is a senior news editor at New Hampshire Public Radio. Throughout her time as an NHPR reporter and editor, she has worked with colleagues across the newsroom to deepen the station’s accountability coverage, data journalism and audience engagement across platforms.

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