As Town Meeting Day Approaches, N.H. Lawmakers Consider Letting Moderators Postpone During Storms

Mar 7, 2019

New Hampshire lawmakers considered a bill in Concord Wednesday that would give municipalities more flexibility in the timing of elections. After two years straight of significant snowstorms on town election day, many moderators throughout the state called for a postponement provision, citing transportation concerns.

But the position of the Secretary of State was that there was no statute that allowed for such delays.

Senate Bill 104 would change that by allowing individual towns to postpone instead of making it a statewide affair.

"I really think most of the issues have been resolved,” said Nancy Marashio, who serves as moderator in Newbury. “It's been contentious in some ways, but I think people have done a good job compromising."

The option to reschedule would be triggered if the National Weather Service issues a storm warning.

"It would require the towns that do postpone notify the Secretary of State’s office with a simple phone call, text message or email just so that we know what's going on out there and can inform voters if they call our office," said Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan.

Voters would also be able to cast an absentee ballot if they would have voted in person but have “concerns for his or her safety traveling in the storm.”

The proposed law is the outcome of a committee that included town moderators, the Secretary of State's Office and legislators.