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State Election Officials Say the Postal Service Has Promised to Make N.H. Ballot Mail a Priority

A sign along the road in Durham reads, "Thank you for voting absentee."
Annie Ropeik, NHPR
The deadline for returning completed absentee ballots, whether by mail or hand delivery, is 5 p.m. on Nov. 3. Election officials are urging voters to return their as soon as possible.

Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan said state officials recently met with representatives from the United States Postal Service to address concerns raised by local election officials about changes affecting absentee ballot delivery.

In early October, several clerks in different regions of New Hampshire reported that absentee ballots and other local mail was being routed through central processing centers in White River Junction or Manchester — even if it was just going from one address to another within the same community. The clerks who spoke up about the issue said this wasn’t how things were done during the September state primary, and they were surprised to learn about the change when sending out their absentee ballots for the general election.

(Earlier coverage: Some Local Election Officials Report Changes in Absentee Ballot Mail Delivery)

Scanlan said it is the policy of the postal service to route local mail through those processing centers. But he also said the postal service vowed to make election mail a priority leading up to the Nov. 3 general election.

“The Postal Service did assure us in that conversation that as we get closer to the election, they will be taking extra measures to make sure that absentee ballots are delivered to you on time,” Scanlan said, relaying these details during a public information session with local clerks Tuesday morning. “And if that means as we get closer, that that mail should remain in your local post office as opposed to getting transferred to a sorting facility first, that they will take that step.”

The Postal Service recently outlined a series of plans to put extra resources behind tracking and transporting absentee ballots. Local Election Mail Task Forces are also popping up across the country, meant to bring postal workers and management together to deal with potential ballot delivery issues.

“In the meantime,” Scanlan said, “we are still encouraging all voters who have requested absentee ballots and receive them to not wait to make sure that they get those to you so that they can be processed and arrive in time to be counted on Election Day.”

(Completed absentee ballots must arrive to local election officials by 5 p.m. on Nov. 3, whether by mail or hand delivery. If you're mailing your ballot, officials recommend sending it two weeks before Election Day.)

How to Help NHPR's Reporting on the Election

If you're running into problems when trying to vote absentee or in-person in New Hampshire, we want to hear from you. We can't act in any kind of enforcement capacity, but we can help shine a light on issues that deserve more attention. If you're running into a serious problem that warrants official action, you should also reach out to the New Hampshire Attorney General's office at 1-866-868-3703 (1-866-VOTER03) or

To get in touch with NHPR journalists directly, you can contact us at

You can also share your experiences as part of NHPR's partnership with ProPublica's Electionland, a collaborative reporting project that tracks voting problems across the country. (Click here to learn more about NHPR's involvement in the project.)

To help out with Electionland, here’s how to sign up and get in touch.

  • SMS: Text the word VOTEVOTA (for Spanish) or ?? (for Chinese) to 81380 (standard text message rates apply).
  • WhatsApp: Send the word VOTEVOTA (for Spanish) or ?? (for Chinese) to 1-850-909-8683.
  • Facebook Messenger: Go to
  • Complete this form (or the one below) to share your election experience with us so ProPublica and our partners can investigate.

Casey is a Senior News Editor for NHPR. You can contact her with questions or feedback at
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