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The Highs and Lows of NH's Civic Health

Apr 27, 2021
A woman hands an elderly man a bag of groceries on his porch.
WGBH

Civic health extends far beyond voting and attending town meetings; it also includes volunteering, participating in public service, and helping out your neighbors. According to the 2020 New Hampshire Civic Health Index, the Granite State ranks high in some areas pertaining to civic health, but also comes out near the bottom in others. We talk about social trust, political behavior, and community building. 

Air date: Wednesday, April 28, 2021. 

Durham voting polls
Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State primary elections would be held in late June rather than early September under a bill passed Thursday by the Republican-led New Hampshire House.

Michael Brindley / NHPR

Right now, New Hampshire voters aren’t allowed to wear clothing or accessories advocating for or against a candidate, political party or measure on the ballot. Rep. John Potucek, a Derry Republican, is trying to change that — in part because of his own experience at the polls.

Mobile COVID-19 testing site at Pease in Portsmouth, N.H., in April
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

It was a year that made us hold our breath, shake our heads, laugh and cry, and shout and pray.

The year of the Zoom call. The year of not taking things for granted.

A year that began with intense scrutiny of the 2020 New Hampshire presidential primary and then veered wildly to the coronavirus. The pandemic sucked the air out of the room - and out of many an office. It changed how we work, how we play, how we greet family, friends and neighbors.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

When the New Hampshire Legislature meets for Organization Day Wednesday, it will select the Secretary of State. Bill Gardner, who's held the position for the last 44 years, is likely to sail smoothly into re-election for a 23rd term.

YouTube Screenshot

New Hampshire is in the minority of states that don’t routinely audit their election results. But on Monday, the Secretary of State’s office tested out how such an audit might work in future races.

This photo, from the Windham Town Clerk's Facebook page, shows the totals initially reported on election night.
Windham Town Clerk's Office on Facebook

New Hampshire's Ballot Law Commission has joined a bipartisan chorus calling for the state attorney general's office to review why the recount totals in a contested Windham State House race differed substantially from what was recorded at the polls on Election Night.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A continuación, encuentra las noticias del lunes 9 de noviembre. 

Puedes escucharlas haciendo click en el audio o leerlas.

Una nota: Lo escrito es nuestro guión para nuestras grabaciones. Tenlo en cuenta si ven algunas anotaciones diferentes.

Ante aumento de casos de COVID, especialmente en el condado de Coos, la ciudad de Berlin considera ordenar el uso obligatorio de cubrebocas

Los casos positivos de COVID-19 en New Hampshire continúan aumentando. 

A mailbox and sign saying "Hand in Your Ballot to the Town Clerk" outside Durham Town Hall Oct. 31
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Maybe you voted absentee in the general election, and you’re wondering whether your vote was counted. Or maybe you just registered to vote in the past few weeks, or even on Election Day at the polls, and want to verify that your information was recorded correctly.

Voters line up at the Manchester City Clerk's office on Oct. 24, 2020.
Dan Tuohy, NHPR

Even before the polls close on Election Day, the pandemic has already reshaped the 2020 race in New Hampshire.

When state election officials announced this spring that any voter can cast an absentee ballot if they’re concerned about the coronavirus, it set off a record number of requests. Now, as of the morning of Nov. 3, hundreds of thousands of New Hampshire voters have already cast their ballots absentee.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A small group of young activists protested this weekend outside the Amazon distribution hub in Hooksett, calling for the company’s workers to get time off to vote Tuesday for the election.

It was part of similar protests taking place nationwide. Students who organized the Hooksett event have also worked with groups like 350NH and the New Hampshire Youth Movement.

Lesley University sophomore Alison Frisella spoke through a megaphone in front of a protest banner, as Amazon delivery drivers rolled past nearby big box stores. A few honked in support.

Voter Turnout in 2020

Nov 2, 2020
An "I Voted" sticker with an American flag
Wikimedia Commons

Who is voting, or not voting, in 2020? We discuss how the New Hampshire electorate has changed since previous elections, examine increased participation among younger voters, and explore how civic involvement is evolving across demographic groups. 

Air date: Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, 9-10 a.m. 

Casey McDermott, NHPR

The Manchester Doubletree Hilton hotel has hosted its fair share of campaign events through the years, but this past weekend it also hosted a crucial part of the voting process — serving as the absentee ballot pre-processing hub for New Hampshire’s largest city.

Wikimedia

Some groups concerned about potential voter intimidation at the polls on Tuesday are offering de-escalation training for volunteers.

State law does allow for poll watchers, but if those watchers veer into intimidation or campaigning they could be removed from the polling place. 

Clockwise from top left: Dartmouth Student Assembly members Elliott Montroll, Cait McGovern, David Millman, Jennifer Qian, Jake Maguire and Jonathan Briffault on a Zoom call.
Zoom Screenshot

The pandemic has upended lots of things about campus life for the nation’s college students this fall — including voting. That’s particularly true in New Hampshire, a place where the student vote has made a difference in close elections.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/accoster/2264295876/">adam coster</a> / flickr

Ahead of this year’s election, many New Hampshire churches say they're carefully treading the line between faith and politics.

Sean Hurley

For the past two presidential elections, farmer Chris Owens has conducted an informal vote at his vegetable stand in Holderness, New Hampshire. Visitors are invited to drop a ballot into an outhouse toilet of their choosing - one assigned to each of the major candidates.  

Courtesy photos

Ty is a 22-year-old who grew up in Manchester and, like a lot of New Hampshire voters, got involved in politics at a young age. They phone-banked and canvassed for Bernie Sanders’ campaign as a high school student in 2016; they also cast their first vote the same year. And as the 2020 general election approaches, Ty’s eager to head back to the polls.

A voting sign
Ellen Grimm / NHPR

This post has been updated with additional comments from the state Republican and Democratic parties.

College students who previously registered to vote in New Hampshire do not automatically lose their voting eligibility if they’re out of state due to remote learning or other circumstances, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office affirmed Wednesday.

JEREMY EGGLETON

During the pandemic, Jen Hutchins and a few of her friends started a new practice: they’re trying to walk every street in Hanover, and they keep track of where they’ve been on a spreadsheet. 

On each walk, there are a few topics that always come up. 

A jar of "clean pens" at a New Hampshire polling place during the September 2020 state primary.
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Editor's note: If you came to this story because you heard a conspiracy theory about Sharpies invalidating ballots in other states, please know that there is no evidence to those claims. You can read more in this advisory from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or this reporting from our public radio colleagues in Arizona. We also invite you to read the full story below, which explains the safeguards built into the voting system to ensure all ballots are counted.

A copy of the absentee ballot application form with a note attached that says, "You are needed please fill this out & mail it in."
New Hampshire Attorney General's Office

Your mailbox is probably packed with campaign fliers and get-out-the-vote material these days. With so many voters handling the balloting process by mail this year, it can be confusing to figure out what kind of election paperwork is legit. And if you’re not careful, returning the wrong paperwork to your local elections office could compromise your vote.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: October 9, 2020

Oct 8, 2020

Senator Maggie Hassan joins us to discuss voting issues and the upcoming committee hearings on the Supreme Court nominee, as the coronavirus spreads through the White House and reaches several Republican senators. The president calls for supporters to "watch the polls" so we find out what is allowed at N.H. voting places, and field your questions about mail-in voting. N.H. schools transition to hybrid models, but there’s some pushback from parents. And what’s going on with races for county sheriff in N.H.?

Air date: Friday, Oct. 9, 2020.

The 2020 general election is November 3. A sign that says "vote" in capital letters sits in a yard.
Britta Greene for NHPR

State election officials say they will work with their counterparts in the U.S. Postal Service to clear up concerns around an apparent policy change that’s causing some absentee ballots to make an extra trip through regional processing hubs, even if they’re just going from one address to another within the same city or town.

Trump Urges Supporters To 'Watch The Polls' – Here's What N.H. Law Allows

Oct 6, 2020
Pollwatchers during the 2014 election in Hanover, N.H.
Sarah Priestap / Valley News

Late into last week’s debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden came a call to action from the president.

“I’m urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that’s what has to happen,” Trump said. “I am urging them to do it.”

Courtesy of ProPublica's Electionland

At NHPR, we want to make sure you have the information you need to cast your vote safely and securely this fall, with some changes in place due to COVID-19. We also want to know if New Hampshire voters are running into any challenges when trying to cast a ballot. That’s where you can help.

photo of unh wildcat statue
Dan Tuohy | NHPR

Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect changes UNH made, after this piece was first published, to how it publicized the absentee voting events.

University of New Hampshire students will be able to register and vote absentee on campus in October. It's part of a strategy to cut down on crowding and long lines at Durham's polling place, which is often one of the busiest in the state during high-turnout elections. 

WebEx Screenshot

The November election is front and center on a lot of people's minds right now — not least of all because President Trump has recently declined to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election. He has also, without evidence, questioned the legitimacy of the election itself.

But here in New Hampshire, there's another battle playing out in court that could have ramifications for how and when voters cast their ballots in November, and how those ballots are counted.

Cori Princell, NHPR

Community leaders in Manchester are hoping to recruit more bilingual people to work at the polls in the upcoming election.

This comes after the city’s Multicultural Advisory Council asked the state to publish voting instructions in Spanish, Nepali, French and other languages spoken by New Hampshire's growing immigrant and refugee communities.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Looking ahead to November, some New Hampshire pollworkers are warning that delays are in store if the state doesn’t grant them more leeway in processing absentee ballots before Election Day.

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