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How to vote in New Hampshire: What you need to know to cast your ballot in the 2022 elections

Voters cast their ballots in Newfields during the 2022 New Hampshire state primary.
Dan Tuohy
/
NHPR
If you want to share what it's like to vote in New Hampshire this year, email us at voices@nhpr.org. Or, you can leave us a voicemail at 603-513-7790.

Whether you plan to vote absentee or head to the polls this fall, we want to help you feel more prepared to cast your ballot in New Hampshire.

Explore this guide for details on how to register to vote, who can cast an absentee ballot, where to look up your polling place and more.

Much of this guide was shaped by questions we received from New Hampshire voters in this and past elections. If you think we missed something, please let us know! You can submit your own question using this form, or you can text NEW HAMPSHIRE to 855-670-1777 and follow the prompts.

The information below comes from official sources: the New Hampshire Election Procedure Manual, memos from the Secretary of State and Attorney General, and guidance from state officials who have a direct role in elections oversight. The guide below reflects our best understanding of New Hampshire's current voting rules, but those rules could still change. We’ll do our best to make sure this page stays as up-to-date as possible.


Voting information is also available from the New Hampshire Secretary of State in Spanish, French and Mandarin: Información Electoral | Information sur les élections | 选举信息 


2022 elections: The basics

Election signs and sanitizer are stationed at a table in the foreground, as voters check in at a registration table and other voters and volunteers mingle in the distance at a polling place in Manchester.
Casey McDermott
/
NHPR

New Hampshire’s state primary is Sept. 13. That’s when voters will decide what candidates from each party will advance to the general election in November. If you’re an undeclared voter (i.e. not registered with any political party), you can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary. If you’re registered as a Republican or Democrat, you can only vote in that party’s primary. More details on voting in party primaries can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.

The general election is Nov. 8. That’s when New Hampshire voters will have the final say on who represents them at the State House, in the U.S. Senate, in Congress and at the county level.

Not sure where your polling place is? Look up where to vote on Election Day here. (Absentee voting is also an option for some people. Learn more about that here.)

Be prepared: Even if you live in the same place you did in 2020, you might find a very different set of candidates on your ballot this year due to redistricting. While New Hampshire’s Congressional districts didn’t change much, there are a lot of new changes in the political maps for the State House and Executive Council. You can look up your voting district on the Secretary of State’s website, or you can look up a sample ballot for a list of the candidates running in your community.

Want to learn more about the candidates? You can look up a sample ballot for your community using this tool. The Secretary of State also has a full list of Republican and Democratic candidates. At this time, only the Republican and Democratic parties are formally recognized by the state, but more information on Libertarian or other third party candidates is available from Citizens Count. To learn more about where candidates stand on the issues, Citizens Count also has a detailed guide for state and federal races.

If you need help, try reaching out to local election officials. Look up the contact information for your city or town clerk's office here. You can also contact the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office at 603-271-3242 or elections@sos.nh.gov. And you can contact the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Election Law Unit at 1-866-868-3703 (866-VOTER03) or electionlaw@doj.nh.gov.



What questions do you have for the candidates running for governor, U.S. Senator and Congress? What issues do you most want them to address while seeking your vote? Share your thoughts here.


Who can vote, and how to register

Who’s allowed to vote in New Hampshire?

If you’re at least 18 years old, you’re a U.S. citizen and you live in New Hampshire, you can vote here. (You can also vote in New Hampshire elections if you are temporarily absent from the state but intend to return.)

Casting a ballot in New Hampshire could subject you to other state residency laws, like car registration and licensing deadlines. You can find more details on that here.

College students are eligible to vote in New Hampshire if they meet all other eligibility requirements.

Naturalized U.S. citizens can also vote in New Hampshire elections. If you have a visa or are a lawful permanent resident, or “green card” holder, but have not gone through the naturalization process, you are not eligible to vote here.

You also don’t need to have a fixed, permanent home to cast a ballot in New Hampshire. The state’s election procedure manual is clear: New Hampshire election workers should “not deny a person, who is otherwise qualified to vote, from registering because he or she is homeless.” Pollworkers are supposed to work with people who are unhoused or between homes to identify the best location to list as their home for voting purposes.

Can I vote even if I have a criminal record?

If you’ve been released from prison, you are eligible to vote — unless you specifically lost the right to vote as part of your sentence. New Hampshire correctional facilities are required by law to “provide [an] offender written notice that he or she may vote during the period of the suspension or parole” when they’re released from incarceration.

You can also vote absentee if you’re incarcerated on a misdemeanor conviction or detained pretrial. According to the state’s election procedure manual, a lot of people in county correctional facilities fall into this category. If that applies to you, you can request an absentee ballot from the city or town where you lived before you were incarcerated.

How can transgender or nonbinary voters avoid problems at the polls?

The most important thing to know is that no eligible voter should be denied their right to vote because of their gender identity. The ACLU of New Hampshire put together a fact sheet for transgender and gender non-conforming voters that addresses questions about photo ID requirements and more.

How do I register to vote?

You can register to vote before the election or in person at the polls on Election Day.

Before the election, you can register at your town or city clerk’s office. Click here to look up the address and contact information for your local clerk. The last day to register before the election varies by community. But if you miss that deadline, you can always register at the polls on Election Day.

The state has more information on registering to vote here.

Do I need to bring anything with me when I’m registering to vote?

New Hampshire election officials accept many kinds of printed and electronic documents for voter registration purposes.

If you have a New Hampshire drivers license that has your current address, that should be enough to satisfy most of the registration requirements — except proof of citizenship. But there are also other options.

You can prove your age and identity by submitting a copy of your non-driver ID, student ID, passport or armed services registration card. You can prove where you live by sharing a copy of a rental agreement, lease, proof of campus housing, a utility bill, a note from a shelter or other service provider that receives mail on your behalf. You can prove your citizenship by presenting a birth certificate, U.S. Passport or naturalization document. Click here for more examples of documents you can use to register to vote.

If you don’t have any documents to prove your age, citizenship, domicile or identity, you can sign an affidavit confirming that you meet the legal requirements to vote in New Hampshire.

If you are having trouble coming up with the paperwork to prove your identity or where you live, or if you run into other issues with this process, you can request help from your local clerk.

I might need help casting my ballot because of a disability. What are my options?

In New Hampshire, voters with disabilities are allowed to ask someone for assistance requesting or completing an absentee ballot. Voters who are blind or who experience other print disabilities also have the option to request an electronic absentee ballot.

More information on New Hampshire’s accessible absentee voting and registration process can be found on the Secretary of State’s website. Voters who need help can contact the Secretary of State at 1-603-271-8241.

Voting accommodations are also available at every polling place on Election Day. New Hampshire polling places are required to meet accessibility standards set by federal law, including accessible parking and entryway provisions. Each polling place should also have an accessible voting machine that allows anyone to vote privately and independently, even if they have vision loss or other conditions that might make traditional balloting challenging.

Voters also have the option of asking someone to assist them with completing their ballot, but that assistant is not supposed to influence the voter’s choice. Any voter, not just those with disabilities, can use accessible voting equipment at the polls.

For additional information, the Disability Rights Center-NH's voting rights guide is a useful resource. Voters can request additional information or assistance by calling the Disability Rights Center-NH directly at 800-834-1721 or 603-228-0432.


We want to hear about your experience as a New Hampshire voter. Was it easy? Did you run into any hurdles? Did any part of the process surprise you, or make you think differently about our election system? Leave us a voicemail at 603-513-7790 or send us an email at voices@nhpr.org.


Absentee voting

Can I vote absentee?

Maybe. New Hampshire doesn’t allow universal absentee voting. And while absentee voting was an option in 2020 for any voter in New Hampshire who was concerned about COVID-19, those rules have expired.

Now, you can only vote absentee if one of the following applies to you:

  • You can’t make it to the polls on Election Day because of work or caregiving obligations, even if those obligations are unpaid.
  • You plan to be out of town on Election Day.
  • You are incarcerated for a misdemeanor or while awaiting trial.
  • You have a religious observance or commitment on Election Day.
  • You’re unable to vote in person because of a disability. According to the Secretary of State, this includes people who have “symptoms of a communicable disease or illness,” or those who “due to their own health circumstances, limit public exposure in their day-to-day life as a preventative measure.”

How do I get an absentee ballot?

First, you have to make sure you're registered to vote in the community where you hope to cast a ballot. Click here if you need more information on how to do that.

Once your voter registration is up-to-date, you can request an absentee ballot. There are a few ways to do that:

  • You can print and fill out one of these forms. Then you can mail, fax or hand deliver the form to your local clerk. If you don't have a printer, or if you have trouble using the state form for another reason, you can hand write a request for an absentee ballot, as long as you include all of the same information that appears on the absentee ballot request form. You can either mail, fax or hand deliver that request to your local clerk.
  • If you prefer to handle the process in person, you can also request your absentee ballot at your local clerk's office. Contact your local clerk directly to check on their hours and availability.

Is there a way to track my absentee ballot?

Yes. You can track the status of your absentee ballot and your absentee ballot request on this website. If you’re worried your local clerk hasn’t received your request, try contacting them directly.

If your absentee ballot request is approved, you’ll get an absentee ballot that you can fill out and return by mail or in person. Click here for more details on returning your absentee ballot.

Is there a deadline for returning my absentee ballot?

Yes. If you’re mailing your absentee ballot, it needs to arrive at your local clerk by 5 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. This is different from some other states, which allow ballots to be counted if they are postmarked by the day of the election. Election officials recommend mailing your absentee ballot as soon as possible, but at least two weeks before the election, to be sure it arrives on time.

If you’re delivering your own absentee ballot to your local clerk in person, you should drop it off by 5 p.m. the day before the election.

You can also have someone else drop off your absentee ballot under limited circumstances. New Hampshire election law allows a voter’s spouse, parent, sibling, child, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepparent or stepchild to deliver a ballot on their behalf.

Nursing home staff and residential care facility staff can also deliver absentee ballots on behalf of residents of their facilities. Additionally, someone who helps a voter with a disability fill out their absentee ballot can deliver it on that voter’s behalf — but one person can only do this for up to four voters in a single election.

I heard my absentee ballot can be rejected if I made a mistake. Is that true?

Yes. While it is rare, absentee ballots are rejected for a variety of reasons in each election cycle. Here are some of the reasons why absentee ballots can be rejected, according to the most recent publicly available version of the state’s election procedure manual:

  • Your absentee ballot application, envelope or affidavit is missing a signature
  • Another voter challenged the validity of your absentee ballot at the polls on Election Day
  • Your absentee ballot and affidavit listed two different names
  • Your absentee ballot or affidavit envelope is missing
  • Your absentee ballot was received after Election Day
  • Your absentee ballot was delivered by someone other than you, a postal carrier (USPS or a commercial delivery service) or another approved delivery agent, like a family member or nursing home staffer 
  • Your absentee ballot envelope included multiple ballots
  • You aren’t a registered voter in the community where you submitted your absentee ballot
  • You already voted in person
  • You didn’t submit an application for an absentee ballot
  • Your ballot is spoiled (meaning that you made a mistake on your original ballot and requested a replacement)
  • The voter who cast the absentee ballot has died or is otherwise no longer eligible

If I made a mistake on my absentee ballot paperwork, will I have a chance to fix it?

It depends. There’s a spot on the absentee ballot paperwork asking you to include your contact information. While pollworkers aren’t required by law to contact you if they reject your ballot, they are encouraged to reach out to offer you a chance to fix the problem.

You can use this tool on the Secretary of State’s website to track whether your absentee ballot has been received and, after Election Day, whether it was counted. If you have a concern about the status of your absentee ballot, you should reach out directly to your local clerk or other local election officials at the polls on Election Day.


Important dates

These dates were taken from New Hampshire's official 2022 political calendar and other guidance issued by the state. 

May 31, 2022: This was the last day to change your party affiliation before the September state primary. Click here for more details on voting in party primaries.

Sept. 12, 2022: Local election officials “must be available to accept any completed absentee ballots filed in person, or delivered by an absentee voter’s delivery agent” at least between 3 and 5 p.m., according to the Secretary of State.

Sept. 13, 2022: State primary election. This determines which candidates from each party advance to the November general election.

  • 5 p.m. on Sept. 13, 2022: If you are mailing your absentee ballot for the state primary, it needs to arrive to your local clerk by this time on Election Day in order to be counted. At this time, New Hampshire does not allow ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted if they arrive after this deadline.

Nov. 7, 2022: Local election officials “must be available to accept any completed absentee ballots filed in person, or delivered by an absentee voter’s delivery agent” at least between 3 and 5 p.m., according to the Secretary of State.

Nov. 8, 2022: General election. New Hampshire voters will have a chance to vote for governor, U.S. Senate, Congress and many other state- and county-level races.

  • 5 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2022: If you're mailing your absentee ballot, it needs to arrive to your local clerk by this time on Election Day in order to be counted. At this time, New Hampshire does not allow ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted if they arrive after this deadline.

Where to go for help

Your local clerk's office: Click here to look up specific email and phone information.

The New Hampshire Secretary of State's office: 603-271-3242 or elections@sos.nh.gov.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Election Law Unit: 1-866-868-3703 (866-VOTER03) or electionlaw@doj.nh.gov.


Get involved

We want to hear about your experience as a New Hampshire voter. Was it easy? Did you run into any hurdles? Did any part of the process surprise you, or make you think differently about our election system? Leave us a voicemail at 603-513-7790 or send us an email at voices@nhpr.org.

If you have other questions about the voting process that we haven't addressed here, we also want to hear from you. Submit a question using the form below, and we'll do our best to get you an answer. Or, you can text NEW HAMPSHIRE to 855-670-1777 and follow the prompts to submit a question about the midterm elections. We'll keep updating this guide throughout election season based on the feedback we receive from New Hampshire voters.

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