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Democracy in NHLN: Voter Access Across New England

Hispanic and Latino Americans are the fastest growing racial and ethnic group in the U.S. electorate since the last midterm elections, with about 34.5 million Hispanics and Latinos eligible to vote in 2022.

While the turnout for Hispanic and Latino voters nationwide has increased over the past decade, they still fall behind other groups. Hispanic and Latino voters face a variety of barriers, but efforts to limit voter access are increasing across the country.

Democracy doesn’t properly work when people and communities are blocked or prevented from participating within local, state, and national elections. 

Expanding voting access across the country ensures that communities are accurately and justly represented by its elected officials. 

Advocating for and increasing voting access includes expanding early voting, online voter registration, and same-day voter registration. 

In New Hampshire, early voting remains unavailable while residents must meet specific requirements to submit an absentee ballot. 

A 2022 report by the Election Law Journal ranked New Hampshire last in the country (50th place) for accessible voting in presidential elections. 

The study — Cost of Voting in the American States: 2022factored in the state’s lack of early voting and mail-in ballot option along with its strict voter ID law to determine how easy or hard it is for voters to cast their ballots. 

“Researchers noted that restrictions on voting or registration are usually justified by increasing security, but they said they saw no relationship between such restrictions and a drop in voter fraud,” WMUR reported

In 2020, non-traditional voting — all types of non-election day voting including vote-by-mail and absentee voting — accounted for about 69.4% of the vote, according to Deliver My Vote Executive Director Amanda Pohl.

“Vote-by-mail programs and any early-voting program does provide greater access to the ballot and that supports the basic foundation of our democracy,” Pohl said.

“We had the highest turnout election in modern history,” she added. “We had more people of color [and] young people voting…and more people accessing the ballot who otherwise,” would have not be able to.

Nonprofit leaders at the Vote Local Day discussion on Vote By Mail & Voter ID’s emphasized that the rate of vote-by-mail has increased over the years. They also spoke on how early-voting, vote-by-mail, and absentee ballots have led to greater and more diverse participation throughout the country. 

“Those accessible programs do increase access to voting for disenfranchised communities, especially, and we have some research that we released in February that also shows that young voters and especially voters of color are more likely to vote if they’re given vote-by-mail options,” Pohl said in the discussion.

Although data has found that expanding voter access results in higher participation rates among communities, officials across the U.S. are working to backtrack some of these laws.

“As soon as those things happened, we immediately saw states starting to clamp down on voting methodologies…We’re also seeing backlash from legislatures that don’t want to see that increased participation,” Pohl said. 

Since May, almost 400 restrictive bills have been introduced in legislatures across the nation. Some restrictions deny assistance to voters with limited English proficiency, according to the Brennan Center

“Over the past 18 months, there has been a wave of anti-voter bills introduced and passed across the country, many of them designed to undermine the growing political power of Latinos and other communities of color,” wrote the Brennan Center. 

Research by the Brennan Center would support the idea that the ongoing increase in voter restrictions are strongly motivated/influenced by “racial backlash”.

“Racial Backlash” is a theory that “describes how white Americans respond to a perceived erosion of power and status by undermining the political opportunities of minorities,” according to the Brennan Center.  


Important Reminders 

Registration: 

NH residents can register in person until Nov. 8 or by mail; online registration is not available. Mail voter registration is only avaible to residents that meet specific requirements; people who are unable to register in person because of physical disability, military service, religious beliefs, or temporary absence. 

Residents that meet these qualifications must directly contact their clerk for the form; the mail voter registration form is not available online. 

NH also does not offer early voting; learn about absentee ballots below. 

Learn about NH voting registration at: https://www.sos.nh.gov/sites/g/files/ehbemt561/files/documents/Election%20Documents/registering-to-vote-in-new-hampshire.pdf 

Not sure if you’re registered? Check your registration status at:

https://app.sos.nh.gov/voterinformation

Early Voting

Early voting is not available in New Hampshire.

Submitting an Absentee Ballot: 

NH residents must meet certain requirements to vote by mail. Those eligible include people who cannot vote in person because of:

  • Being absent from the voter’s city or town
  • Religious observance
  • Disability or illness
  • Employment commitments (including caregiving)

Absentee ballots may also be available when a weather emergency impacts an election, according to the Secretary of State’s website

Eligible NH residents must request an absentee or mail-in ballot by filling out and returning the application below by Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. 

https://www.sos.nh.gov/elections/voters/absentee-ballots/request-absentee-ballot

The absentee ballot must be received by Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. in-person or through mail by Nov. at 5 p.m. EST.

Voting Day:

NH poll hours vary across the state. On Nov. 8, all polling places are open between 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. Some locations may open earlier, up to 6 a.m. Check your town/city’s official website or contact your local elections officials for specific hours. 

Locate a polling place near you at: 

https://app.sos.nh.gov/pollingplacesampleballot

Or 

https://gettothepolls.com


Additional Resources 

General

Be The Ones English Local Voter Guide 

Be The Ones Spanish Local Voter Guide 

Vote.org Poll Locator – https://www.vote.org/polling-place-locator/ 

New Hampshire 

NHLN & AARP NH Town Hall Panel Discussion –  https://nhlatinonews.com/enhancing-accessibility-in-nh-elections/ 

AARP NH Voter Guide – https://nhlatinonews.com/enhancing-accessibility-in-nh-elections/ 


Publisher’s note: NH Latino News under the Latino News Network (LNN), has put together this informational guide with the help of our partner Be The Ones, to assist voters make informed decisions not only at the polls, but in their engagement with democracy going forward.

Collaboration and inclusion are best practices LNN adopted from the Democracy SOS fellowship. LNN is one of 20 U.S.-based newsrooms elected to participate in the Hearken and the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) fellowship, committed to building understanding, trust, and engagement.

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