Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support NHPR's local journalism that brings clarity, context, and community!

How NHPR is covering the 2022 elections in New Hampshire

A white sign with bright red letters is taped on a window at the front of a large gymnasium, reading "NO CAMPAIGNING BEYOND THIS POINT." Other election signs and sample ballots are also visible, as are a small group of election workers and voters in the distance.
Gabriela Lozada
/
NHPR
Polling hours and locations vary by community. Click here to look up the information for your community.

On Nov. 8, New Hampshire voters will have a chance to decide who they want to represent them at the State House, in Congress and at the county level.

There are lots of important issues at stake in this election, but at NHPR we’re trying to keep our focus away from the horse race and where it belongs: on the needs and concerns of New Hampshire voters. That means you won’t find many stories from us about attack ads, polls or endorsements. Instead, we’re trying to bring you stories about the policy issues defining each race and how voters are making sense of their choices on the ballot this fall.

We’ll also make sure you have the information you need to understand how to vote, and how votes are counted. And we’ll pay attention to potential threats to civic institutions and the democratic process.

We also try to make sure the majority of our reporting is original and doesn’t repeat what other news outlets have already covered. There’s lots of good reporting happening across the state, and we want to make sure we are using our resources wisely. That also means we’ll continue to share stories from other newsrooms, especially if they’re covering important issues that we’re not able to dig into on our own.

Campaigns can be unpredictable, which means we have to be flexible in our approach — so these plans might change, depending on how the final stretch of the election shapes up. But for now, here's what else you can expect from NHPR’s election coverage in the weeks ahead.


What races will NHPR focus on?

As a small newsroom, we have to be strategic in deciding which campaigns to cover. Most of our reporters are not focused solely on politics; they also report on the environment, education, health and other issues. Likewise, we cannot pretend to cover all of the races on the ballot — especially with 424 legislators at the State House alone.

NHPR is also a statewide news outlet, so we’re focusing on the races that are likely to be of interest to the greatest number of people across the state: the campaigns for New Hampshire governor, New Hampshire’s open U.S. Senate seat and its two Congressional districts.

That doesn’t mean we’ll completely ignore what’s happening in legislative or county-level races. It just means that when we do write about those races, we’ll likely focus on how they relate to broader themes playing out this year — including the effects of redistricting on New Hampshire elections.

And while we are not equipped to provide detailed coverage of every campaign, we will look for opportunities to elevate reporting done by other local journalists in New Hampshire who are working hard to put those races into perspective.

If you listen to NHPR regularly, you’ll likely hear lots of coverage of national politics from NPR. While NHPR shares these stories as part of our regular broadcasts of NPR’s programming, we have no role in NPR stories that you hear on our air. You might also find stories from NPR or the Associated Press on our website; likewise, these are produced outside our newsroom, though we will occasionally highlight pieces that seem like they might be of interest to local readers.


How are you making sure you’re focusing on what matters to New Hampshire voters?

Our reporters spend time talking to people at campaign and community events across the state, to try to better understand what’s on their mind this election season.

We’re also inviting people to participate in an ongoing survey about what issues are most important to them this election season and what questions they want to hear the candidates for major state and federal offices address when seeking their vote.

We use this feedback to decide what stories to pursue, what issues to focus on in policy explainers and what questions to ask candidates in interviews and debates.


Will NHPR host debates? If so, which candidates are involved?

Yes. NHPR will host debates with the candidates for New Hampshire governor, U.S. Senate and New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District. We intended to host a debate for the 1st Congressional District, and extended simultaneous invitations to Republican Karoline Leavitt and Democrat Chris Pappas. While the Pappas campaign accepted the debate invitation, Leavitt’s campaign did not respond to multiple attempts to reach out and released a debate schedule that did not include NHPR. Given that, NHPR is unable to host a 1st Congressional District debate and instead intends to host a long-form interview with Pappas at a date yet to be determined.

Our goal for these debates is to present voters with a chance to draw clear contrasts among the candidates before they cast their ballots on Election Day.

Because debates must occur within a limited time, NHPR must adopt criteria for deciding which candidates to invite to participate. To that end, and consistent with past practice, candidates must meet three of these four criteria to qualify:

  • Candidate is affiliated with a party defined as a major party by New Hampshire state statute and determined by the Secretary of State's office (i.e. having won at least 4% of the vote in the most recent statewide election).
  • Candidate obtains at least 7% public support in one independently conducted public opinion poll at least two weeks prior to the debate’s broadcast.
  • Candidate has a campaign website detailing biography and issues.
  • Candidate must be actively campaigning, defined as having hosted 12 campaign-related events, news conferences or public meetings within the past 30 days.

New Hampshire defines major parties for elections as those whose candidates have won at least 4% of the vote in the most recent statewide election (i.e. governor and U.S. Senate). Currently, the only political parties in New Hampshire to have reached that threshold are the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.

NHPR extended invitations to these debates to all top Democrat and Republican candidates for statewide and federal office prior to the primary election in September, giving campaigns equal opportunity to respond and commit to participating. After the primary, NHPR worked with the winning campaigns to determine a date that worked for candidates from each party to determine when the debates would take place.

Debates are just one part of NHPR's plan for informing voters ahead of the Nov. 8 election. In addition to our ongoing election coverage, we plan to conduct and broadcast interviews with all candidates on the ballot for New Hampshire governor and U.S. Senate before the polls open.


How is NHPR covering the voting process?

NHPR is putting a lot of effort into making sure New Hampshire voters understand how to vote and how votes are counted.

We have a detailed voter guide that addresses everything from how to find your polling place, to how to register, to how to avoid absentee ballot rejections and more. We also have a version in Spanish.

We’re also one of 28 public media stations working with America Amplified to ensure people have the information they need to participate in this year’s election. If you send us a question using the form on this page, we’ll do the research and get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.

We’ve also done stories about the mechanics of democracy, including how voter checklists are maintained and how ballots were counted in communities that made mistakes during the 2020 election. We’ll continue to keep our focus on these issues as much as possible through November.


How do you make sure NHPR’s election coverage is fair?

At NHPR, we have a collaborative editing process — we usually involve multiple reporters and editors in conversations at each step of the way, to ensure there’s plenty of opportunity for input to strengthen each story. Editors play a key role in ensuring our coverage is fair and accurate. They act as advocates for our audience, making sure that reporters are seeking out voices from a range of perspectives for their stories, and that stories are appropriately balanced and even-handed.

We also try to listen carefully to constructive criticism, and use that feedback to improve future reporting.

If you have a question or concern about NHPR’s reporting, you’re always welcome to share your thoughts at news@nhpr.org.


How can people get involved in NHPR’s election coverage?

You have a few options.

  • If you want to suggest a question for our debates with candidates U.S. Senate, Congress or governor: Share your thoughts here.
  • If you have a question about the voting process: Share it here, and we’ll try to follow up as soon as we can.
  • If you have questions or concerns about our news coverage: Email us at news@nhpr.org, which goes to our team of news editors.
Related Content

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.