Election 2020 Live Blog: State House Likely Flips To GOP; Progressive Groups Gather At State House | New Hampshire Public Radio

Election 2020 Live Blog: State House Likely Flips To GOP; Progressive Groups Gather At State House

16 hours ago

NHPR's newsroom is covering Election 2020 as events unfold across the state. With the vote being shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest, and deep political divisions, it's been a cycle like no other.

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Election 2020 Live Blog

Wednesday, 6:00 pm

Rally at New Hampshire State House demands ballot counts

Credit Sarah Gibson | NHPR

A group of progressive, largely youth-led organizations hosted a rally today at the New Hampshire State House to demand that all ballots are counted in swing states still up for grabs in the presidential election.

Activists spoke to a group of about 150 supporters, warning that President Trump was undermining the election results by declaring a victory while millions of votes were still being counted.

Click here to read more on this story.

Asma Elhuni, of Rights and Democracy NH, said progressives would also face uphill battles in Concord, where Governor Chris Sununu sailed to victory and Republicans expect to take the majority in the Executive Council, Senate, and House.

“If you are not plugged in, what better time to plug in than now,” she said. “Please, there are so many organizations that have been working, we won't get the community we need unless we fight for it, because they won't give it to us.”

- Sarah Gibson

Wednesday, 4:25 p.m.

State House likely flips as GOP appears poised to take over Senate and House

Credit NHPR Staff

While complete results are not official, it appears Republicans will reclaim majorities in the state Legislature and on the Executive Council after Tuesday's election.

Republican control in Concord means the GOP will draw the next set of legislative redistricting maps. GOP control also means Governor Sununu is likely to move ahead with plans to further cut state business taxes and possibly the tax on rooms and meals.

Click here to read more on this story.

GOP control will also means the next state budget will be a largely Republican document, and could affect ongoing efforts to reform the state's school funding scheme.

A Republican-led Executive Council clears the ways for Sununu to install Attorney General Gordon MacDonald as chief justice of the state Supreme Court. Sununu first nominated MacDonald, who's never been a judge, to oversee the court system last year.

When Democrats on the Council rejected him, Sununu decided to leave the job vacant, and said he'd consider moving MacDonald's nomination again, when a new Council was seated.

- Josh Rogers  

Wednesday, 12:55 a.m.  

Kuster, Pappas win another term in Congress

Credit File photo

Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster has won a fifth term representing New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District. Kuster, a Democrat, defeated Republican challenger Steve Negron, who also ran for the seat in 2018. (Read more here.)

In the state's 1st District, Democrat Chris Pappas held his seat - the first time a CD1 incumbent has done so in a reelection since 2008. Pappas defeated Matt Mowers, a Republican backed by President Trump. (Read more here.)

Get New Hampshire's election results here.

Wednesday, 12:10 a.m. 

Hand sanitizer "gums up" ballot machine in Derry

In Derry, voter registration lines wrapped around the building throughout Election Day. After the polls closed, town moderator Tina Gilford ran into a very "2020 problem."

"We had someone with hand sanitizer put their ballot in the machine, gum it up...yeah the gummed it up so bad that the machine kind of seized. We had to reset it."

Representatives from LHS Associates, the company that makes New Hampshire's ballot counting machines, showed up to address the problem. Gilford said it was quickly resolved.

- Jordyn Haime

__________

Tuesday, November 3

11:50 p.m.

Preparation pays off for New Hampshire's poll workers

Throughout the summer and fall, local New Hampshire election officials worried. They worried about whether the changes put in place to allow voting to proceed safely despite COVID-19 would actually work. They worried whether they could handle a crush of absentee ballots in a year when in-person turnout could also be seismic. They worried whether they would be able to recruit enough poll workers to carry out all of these tasks. And they worried whether Election Day would bring out the worst in a polarized electorate.

But come Election Day, many people voted absentee and in-person, but no significant traffic jams emerged. And many people were, as it turns out, civil and patient with their neighbors and neighborhood election officials alike along the way.

Read this story by NHPR's Casey McDermott

Tuesday, 11:00 p.m.

The Associated Press has called New Hampshire for Joe Biden.

Get vote totals and real-time results here.  

Tuesday, 9:45 p.m.

UNH students cast ballots in Durham

University of New Hampshire students worked around class schedules and COVID-19 restrictions to vote in Durham Tuesday. Senior Katie Clark said she registered to vote in person in Durham because she didn't get her absentee ballot from her home state of Rhode Island in time to mail it in.

"It went well, had good precautions in regards to COVID, and it was exciting to vote for the first time," she said.

The final ballot in Durham was cast by UNH junior Grace Bielesz, who was also voting for the first time.

- Annie Ropeik

Grace Bielesz, a junior at the University of New Hampshire, cast the final ballot in Durham on Election Day.
Credit Courtesy Todd Selig

Tuesday, 9:20 p.m.

What you're telling us about your voting experience

Have you seen something unusual, amiss, or wonderful today? How did voting go for you? Send us an email at elections@nhpr.org.

Here are some more voters we've heard from today (scroll down for earlier contributions): 

Joe Pebler works the polls in Northwood.
Credit Courtesy Joe Pebler

...This year was my first year as a poll worker in Northwood NH and the experience was great here. The voters were respectful and the rest of the volunteers were really thorough. Here is a picture of my table me handing out [ballots] in the folders. I will absolutely do what I can to participate again. It was a great way to see a wide array of the people in my community and I really felt like I was helping America function in a 6 hr shift. - Joe Pebler

__________

Very smooth and a lot of dedicated poll workers here at Raymond Middle School. A lot of unregistered voters registering tonight! Good job by everyone. - Todd Pelio

__________

9:00 p.m.

Photo by Jordyn Haime: Representives from the Democratic and Republican parties read the first of eight ballot machine results in Derry.

Party reps examine ballot counts in Derry
Credit Jordyn Haime for NHPR

Tuesday, 8:10 p.m.

Sununu, Shaheen declared winners

In two relatively early calls on Election Night, the Associated Press has declared Gov. Chris Sununu and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen the winners of their respective races. 

Get real-time results here.  

Sununu, a Republican, won his third term as New Hampshire's governor against Democratic challenger Dan Feltes, a state senator. 

Related: Sununu easily wins third term, beating back challenge from Feltes

Shaheen defeated Republican Bryant "Corky" Messner in her third Senate win. 

Related: Shaheen secures early victory, winning third term in Senate over Messner

Tuesday, 7:55 p.m.

Tuesday, 7:40 p.m.

Photo by Annie Ropeik: The vote count is underway in Durham. Per federal law, officials box up ballots for storage after they are counted in the event of a recount.  

Election officials box counted ballots in Durham
Credit Annie Ropeik | NHPR

Tuesday, 7:35 p.m.

Photo by Jordyn Haime: Voters line up to register in Derry Tuesday evening. According to guidance provided by the Secretary of State's office to New Hampshire election officials, would-be voters who are waiting in line when poll closures are announced must be allowed to register and vote.

The voter registration line in Derry Tuesday evening.
Credit Jordyn Haime | NHPR

Tuesday, 7:15 p.m. 

Potential for record turnout in Exeter

While Exeter’s polling location had an hour-long line most of the morning, by the afternoon it was a much shorter wait. Victor Witham says the process went smoothly. He chose to vote in person rather than absentee so he could watch his ballot go into the box.

“I always like to do it in person. That’s the process, to me. You are coming down, you are doing your duty. Not much a wait, though. It was in and out. As long as you are registered, they were good with you.”

Exeter’s town moderator is expecting a record or near-record turnout. Other locations around the state are also reporting high voter activity.

- Todd Bookman

Tuesday, 6:45 p.m.

What you're telling us about your voting experience

Have you seen something unusual, amiss, or wonderful today? How did voting go for you? Send us an email at elections@nhpr.org.

Here are some more voters we've heard from today (scroll down for earlier contributions): 

"I voted" stickers festoon a sign honoring Marilla Marks Young Ricker outside the Woodman Institute in Dover
Credit Courtesy Chris Alibrandi

I voted in person today, accompanied by my 17 year old daughter. Afterwards, around 11:00 a.m., we placed my “I Voted” sticker on this sign, which is outside in front of the Woodman Institute in Dover. Marilla Marks Young Ricker was a Suffragette who apparently died right before women got the vote. We honor her this 100th anniversary year of our right to vote. - Chris Alibrandi

___________

My husband and I always vote at McDonough School in Manchester, and there are usually no lines. Today was strikingly different. There were lots of people, and we had to wait in several lines during the voting process, which took about 45 minutes.

___________

The voting process was well-organized and orderly, with everyone wearing masks and social distancing. People are taking this election very seriously. - Mary Douglas

__________

Credit Courtesy Kristen Wojciechowski

Walking back to my car after voting in Londonderry I was treated to this gorgeous sunset. I parked a half a mile away and walked to avoid getting stuck in the traffic going in and out of the high school parking lot. It was chilly but worth it. - Kristen Wojciechowski

__________

I saw you were looking for info from people on their voting experience.

Beverly Nicolo-Stroh and her daughter
Credit Courtesy Beverly Nicolo-Stroh

It was very quick and easy and everyone involved was very friendly and professional as always. I commented to my 7 year old daughter, who my husband and I bring with us every single time we vote right into the booth, that we are lucky to live in a small town where voting is very quick and very simple.

We talked about how for so many other people it’s a much more difficult process that can take many many hours, and can be far away. She said that everyone should be able to vote as easily as we did, and I said she is very correct. Here’s us earlier today!

Tuesday, 6:40 p.m.

First-time voters cheered at Concord ward

Poll workers Connor Spern (l) and Erin Schaick (r) at the Concord Ward 4 polling location at the Boys and Girls Club. Schaick says the ward has about 3300 registered voters and that 2060 people have voted so far (and they are still processing some absentee ballots). The ward had a lot of first-time voters, she says, and started cheering every time a first time voter submitted their ballot. Photo courtesy Erin Schaick.

Poll workers Connor Spern (l) and Erin Schaick (r) at Concord's Ward 4
Credit Courtesy

Tuesday, 6:15 p.m.

In Merrimack, big crowds are no problem.

Many election officials in southern New Hampshire are predicting record turnout in their towns. Merrimack Town Moderator Lynn Christensen says they have enough poll workers to handle the big crowds.

Christensen says some older volunteers are having a hard time hearing voters through their masks and plexiglass barriers, but she says luckily, college and high school age students are volunteering at the polls too.

“I love having the students do it. The students have good hearing, have good eyesight, they know their alphabet and they're enthusiastic.”

- Sarah Gibson

Tuesday, 6:05 p.m.

Durham turnout potentially affected by COVID-19

Durham is using two separate Accuvote machines to process absentee ballots faster, which means they have a real turnout count: about 3900 in person and 3600 absentee as of 5:30 or so.

It's more than town moderator Chris Regan expected, but he still doesn't think they'll top 2016. He says they haven't had a line since before polls opened this morning, and thinks UNH COVID restrictions have made it complicated for many students, even if they're local, to vote in person.

Regan had to refer one case to the Attorney General’s office and didn't know how it turned out. A UNH sorority member tested positive this weekend and her whole house had to quarantine. The students couldn't vote in person as planned and didn't have anyone who was legally able to deliver absentee ballots for them today.

- Annie Ropeik

A poll worker stands next to one of Durham's vote counting machines
Credit Annie Ropeik | NHPR

Tuesday, 5:55 p.m.

Laconia sees high turnout

More Granite Staters than ever are choosing to vote absentee this year, but poll workers in Laconia say they were surprised at the high turnout of in-person voters.

Kevin Coyne said he decided to vote in person to make sure his vote was counted: "All the talk about the mail-in ballots and Trump having objections to it...I decided I'm just going to go. I don't want to worry about it, I'll just go like I usually do and vote in person."

New Hampshire election officials started pre-processing ballots earlier this week. They said only a small number have been rejected, and poll workers are encouraged to notify those voters.

- Jordyn Haime

Tuesday, 5:40 p.m.

Same day registration trend continues in Lebanon

Photo by Daniela Allee: Lebanon Ward 3 is reporting a lot of same day voter registrations - more than 200 people so far. Moderator Karen Sheehan says everyone has complied with wearing masks and they haven't had to use their mask-less room at all today. Here she is going through absentee ballots:

Lebanon Moderator Karen Sheehan goes through absentee ballots
Credit Daniela Allee | NHPR

Meanwhile, Ward 2 Moderator Crystallee Newton says about 2400 people have voted so far. There are 3184 registered voters in the ward, with about another 200 new registrants today.

Tuesday, 5:10 p.m.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes arrived at Concord's Ward 5 and greeted supporters with elbow bumps.

Dan Feltes elbow bumps supporters
Credit Maureen McMurray | NHPR

Massive turnout in Dover Ward

Dover Ward 4 moderator Kate Hill says they haven't had any of the problems they expected with "armed observers" or "confrontational poll watchers" at their Elks' Lodge voting center.

Instead she says they've had "massive turnout" - hundreds in line when polls opened, enough that they needed police help managing it. She says it's all moved smoothly, and there was no line as of 5 p.m.

Hill estimates 30-50% of registered voters in the ward voted absentee. "But we've had so many people come through, too," she says. "We're going to break all the records tonight."

One Dover woman has stood outside the Elks' Lodge all day holding a custom neon Trump sign she says was crafted by her husband. She says they have another, larger, sign at home on their farm.

- Annie Ropeik

A Dover woman holds a custom neon sign outside Dover's Ward 4 polling location
Credit Annie Ropiek, NHPR

Tuesday, 4:55 p.m.

Waterville sees boost in voting rolls

Acting Moderator Joan Sweeney says there was a line out the door at 11 when the polls opened and it’s been a mildly steady flow since. One difference this year – the new residents in town.

"Because of COVID, we've had a huge rush of new residents to town this year. So that's changed our demographics, not so much party-wise, I don't know where we are. But basically, starting the day, we had 403...with 15, 20 new ones at this point."

- Sean Hurley

Tuesday, 4:20 p.m.

Photo by Annie Ropeik: There's a bit of a line for same-day registrations - but no line for voting - at Woodman Park Elementary School, the polling place for Ward 2 in Dover. The moderator there estimates the ward will see as many walk-in votes as absentee ballots by the end of the day.

Voters cast ballots Tuesday afternoon at Ward 2 in Dover
Credit Annie Ropeik | NHPR

Tuesday, 4:10 p.m.

Steady turnout in Claremont

As a 17 year old, Emily Herbert can't vote, but she spent three hours today volunteering at Ward 2 in Claremont, where she cleaned pens and handed out protective sheets for ballots. Herbert says it's exciting seeing the voting process up close for the first time.

"It's definitely made me feel part of the community," she said. "They're voting and they're getting their vote in."

Alison Raymond has been the moderator for Ward 2 for 10 years. She says voters this year paid close attention to the rules for absentee voting. So far, she hasn’t had to reject any absentee ballots.

"We did not have one issue with 500 absentee ballots," she said.

Raymond described today's voter turnout as steady. By 3 p.m. more than 60 percent of the ward's registered voters had cast a ballot.

- Daniela Allee

Ward 2 in Claremont, where turnout has been steady, according to the election moderator
Credit Daniela Allee | NHPR

Tuesday, 4:00 p.m.  

Video by Dan Tuohy: Scenes from Election Day in New Hampshire

3:55 p.m.

Some delays, lines for new registrations in Bedford

Election officials in Bedford say despite a record number of absentee ballots this year, many voters are showing up to the polls to vote in person. Town moderator Bill Klein says there are some delays for new voters needing to register at the polls. By mid-afternoon that line was taking up to 45 minutes.

"We're doing the very best that we can and I hope people are understanding of that and realize," he said, "but I know everybody is stressed!"

Election monitors are keeping tabs on wait times there, and say once registered, most voters are able to cast their ballots quickly.

- Sarah Gibson

The line for same-day voter registration in Bedford.
Credit Sarah Gibson | NHPR

Tuesday, 3:20 p.m.

Smooth sailing for afternoon voters in Rochester

Some voters in Rochester's Ward 5 were pleasantly surprised by the ease of casting their ballots today. The city community center saw a long line in the first few hours of voting, but it died down by mid-afternoon. 

Voter Lisa Holt said she was expecting a long line of frustrated people. Instead, she found a quiet polling place and smooth experience.

"Everyone who helped was friendly, the people in there kept a safe distance, and it was a really easy process," she said. 

David Zane said he thinks concerns about Election Day issues were over-hyped.

"'Cause we thought, 'oh boy, there'll be long lines,' what you see on the internet," he said. "Nothing! It's well organized and it was easy."

Zane said he's not stressed about learning the election results, even if they take a little longer than normal to be finalized.

- Annie Ropeik 

A relatively quiet Ward 5 in Rochester
Credit Annie Ropeik | NHPR

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