Frequently Asked Questions about Voting Rights

1. Am I eligible to register to vote in New Hampshire?
2. Where do I register to vote?
3. Do I need to provide proof of citizenship, age, or domicile?
4. Who decides if I am eligible to vote?
5. What if my name is not on the checklist when I go to vote?
6. What happens if the supervisors decide I am not qualified to vote?
7. I have a felony conviction, can I vote?
8. I am in jail, but do not have a felony conviction, can I vote?
9. Is there any other reason why I may not be qualified to vote?
10. I have a guardian, can I vote?
11. What if I am unable to go to the polls?
12. How do I get an absentee ballot?
13. When do I have to return my absentee ballot?
14. Do I have to apply to vote absentee before every election?
15. What if I am ill or hospitalized on the day of the election?
16. What if my polling place is not accessible?
17. What if I get to the polling place and I can't get in?
18. What if I cannot read the ballot or independently mark the ballot?
19. What if I make a mistake when marking the ballot?
20. The Voter Identification law of 2012: how will it affect my right to vote?

1. Am I eligible to register to vote in New Hampshire? back to top

You may register to vote if:

· You are a United States citizen
· You are 18 years of age
· You may register at age 17 if you will be 18 years old by the day of the next election
· You are domiciled in the community in which you are seeking to register

2. Where do I register to vote? back to top

You may register:

· At your town or city clerk’s office,
· At your local poll on election day,
· By using a Absentee Voter Registration Form (RSA 654:16) or
· At a session of the supervisors of the checklist

3. Do I need to provide proof of citizenship, age, or domicile when I register? back to top

Yes.
Citizenship: Any one of the following:
· Birth certificate,
· Passport,
· Naturalization papers,
· Citizenship affidavit, OR
· Any other reasonable documentation which indicates you are a U.S. citizen

Age: Any reasonable documentation showing you are 18 years of age or older.

Domicile: Any reasonable documentation showing you have a domicile and intend to maintain a domicile in the town, city or ward in which you desire to vote;
OR
A domicile affidavit

Any of the following documents is presumptive evidence that you meet the domicile requirement, provided the document is:
· currently valid,
· was issued to you or in your name, and
· shows the address you claim as a domicile.

1. New Hampshire driver’s license
2. New Hampshire vehicle registration
3. Armed services identification
4. A photo identification issued by the U.S. government

4. Who decides if I am eligible to vote? back to top

Town and city clerks are required to accept your application, however, only the supervisors can make the final decision. Your application shall be accepted, unless it is established that it is more likely than not that you are not qualified to vote. (RSA 654:11)

5. What if my name is not on the checklist when I go to vote? back to top

You may register to vote with the supervisors of the checklist at any election, as long as you meet all of the qualifications.

6. What happens if the supervisors decide I am not qualified to vote? back to top

The supervisors must inform you in writing within 7 days of their decision, stating the reason for the denial. The supervisors must write the word “rejected” on the registration form and preserve it. (RSA 654:13).

You may appeal the supervisors’ denial to the New Hampshire Superior Court. (RSA 654:42)

7. I have a felony conviction, can I vote? back to top

If you are sentenced for a felony, you cannot vote from the time of your sentence until your final discharge. You may vote if the sentence is suspended or you are paroled.

8. I am in jail, but do not have a felony conviction, can I vote? back to top

If you are in jail in pre-trial detention or as a result of a conviction for a misdemeanor you may vote by absentee ballot. Your domicile is the town or city where you were domiciled prior to being confined.

9. Is there any other reason why I may not be qualified to vote? back to top

Yes. Any person convicted of bribery or intimidation relating to elections or any willful violation of the election law is forever disqualified from voting, seeking or holding public office, unless the Supreme Court reinstates the right.

10. I have a guardian, can I vote? back to top

Maybe. The election laws do not prohibit you from voting. However, the petition for the court may have taken away your right to vote. If you are unsure, you should look at the guardianship decree. There is more to say about this: see page 10 of the Fall 2004 Rap Sheet, "Getting Out The Vote", and the video Legal Brief on Voting.

VOTING BY ABSENTEE BALLOT

11. What if I am unable to go to the polls? back to top

If you are unable to vote because:
· You will be absent from your city or town on election day,
· You have a physical disability that prohibits you from voting in person,
· You are a member of the armed services (or a spouse or dependent of a member) and will be absent on election day,
· You are living overseas, or
· You cannot vote in person because of observance of a religious commitment,

you may vote by absentee ballot.

12. How do I get an absentee ballot? back to top

You may request an absentee ballot from your town or city clerk.

13. When do I have to return my absentee ballot? back to top

You must either mail or personally deliver it to the city or town clerk. If you are mailing the ballot, it must be received by 5 pm on election day. If you are delivering the ballot you must do so by 5 p.m. on the day before the election. Town and City Clerks must be available between 3 and 5 p.m. on the day before the election.

14. Do I have to apply to vote absentee before every election? back to top

You may request an absentee ballot for both the primary election and general election during the same year. However, for subsequent elections, you will need to reapply. New Hampshire does not have permanent absentee voter status.

15. What if I am ill or hospitalized on the day of the election? back to top

There is no deadline for applying for an absentee ballot. The only deadline is that it must be received by 5:00 p.m. on election day. (RSA 657:22)

The town or city clerk may deputize someone from his or her office, or take the ballot to you and then accept receipt of the completed ballot in person.

OTHER ISSUES

16. What if my polling place is not accessible? back to top

The New Hampshire Constitution states that “polling places shall be easily accessible to all persons including disabled and elderly persons…” If you are unable to vote due to an inaccessible poll you should contact Disability Rights Center - NH at 1-800-834-1721 and/or the Attorney General’s Office at 1-866-868-3703. You may also vote by absentee ballot.17. Any voter who arrives at a polling place and states under oath to the moderator that they are unable to access the ADA compliant polling place due to physical disability may have an absentee ballot delivered to that voter outside the guardrail. (RSA 659:20-a)

17. What if I get to the polling place and I can't get in? back to top

If you arrive at a polling place and state under oath to the moderator that you can't get into the polling place due to physical disability, you may have an absentee ballot delivered to you outside the guardrail. (RSA 659:20-a)

18. What if I cannot read the ballot or independently mark the ballot? back to top

Each town now has in place an accessible voting system that includes a tablet, keyboard, and printer, called the one4all system. Here is a video from the NH Association for the Blind that explains how to use the system.

You may also have a person of your choice assist you in the voting both, but not your employer or union official. You must declare to the moderator why you need assistance and your assistant must swear to the moderator that he or she will mark the ballot as you direct and keep your vote confidential. (RSA 659:20, 42 U.S.C. 1973 aa-6)

19. What if I make a mistake when marking the ballot? back to top

You may return the ballot to the moderator and request a new ballot. The moderator must write “canceled” on the ballot and sign it. The ballot is then considered “spoiled” and held by the moderator, who will place it with all other ballots when counting is over.

If you make a mistake on the second ballot, you may request a third ballot. However, if you make a mistake on the third ballot, you will not be permitted an additional ballot (RSA 659:22) and must decide whether to cast it with the mistake.

20. The Voter Identification law of 2012: how will it affect my right to vote?

The Voter ID law requires voters to present photo identification at the polls on election day in order to vote. If you do not have a driver’s license or other photo identification, YOU CAN STILL VOTE. The Secretary of State's Office has more information on the Voter ID law.

 

updated October 20, 2016