The Civic Center and Open Democracy Research Report 2024

In collaboration with The Civics Center, Open Democracy is happy to share our latest research on High School Voter Registration Drives across the Granite State! In the latest research report titled, "Increasing Voter Registration Among 18-Year-Olds in New Hampshire" by Laura Brill, Kassie Canter, and Fionn Shea, you see very promising statistics and anecdotes on the progress we have made in the state! We still have work to be done but this is concrete evidence that we are headed towards a brighter tomorrow!

The voter registration rate nearly doubled from 8.5% in June 2022 to 15.6% in July of 2023! This is a key indicator that this initiative is truly changing the lives and communities that 18 year olds reside. This helps strengthen our democracy in the present but also in the future. As this program grows and more schools hold High school Voter Registration Drives, we expect these numbers to increase again.

These numbers are promising and more work is surely ahead. The national average for 18 year old voter registration is 30% and that towers over our number here in the Granite State. With your help and support, we can catch up to the national average and even surpass it! If you find this issue is important to you, your family, or your community, please consider volunteering!

Remember Sally

Sally lived her life committed to kindness, compassion and justice. She believed in the promise of democracy and the idea that we as a nation are stronger when all voices are heard and all votes are counted.  

Guided by these principles, Sally became a tireless advocate for voting rights. She was especially determined to make sure that young voters, new Americans, unhoused people, and other vulnerable groups were able to cast their votes at the ballot box. 
Sally also recognized that political gerrymandering betrayed the principle of one person one vote, and so she worked vigorously on behalf of independent, nonpartisan redistricting. 
We will remember Sally as an exuberant, warm and generous champion of justice.  Always quick with a smile and a twinkle in her eye.

Walking to Fix Democracy

Granny D Memorial Walk

Granite Staters across the political spectrum took steps to strengthen our democracy, and honor Granny D's legacy, at this year’s Granny D Memorial walk Saturday, August 13, 2022. 

The walk began near Granny D’s home, where Dave Daley, author of Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy, sent the marchers off with words that echoed Granny D: “democracy is an action. It is a verb.”

Dave Daley


And so the group set out to take action, walking to fix democracy, as how in 1999 Granny D set out to walk 3200 miles across the United States to raise the issue of money in politics. The messages on signs held showed the intersectionality of the issue today; messages to strengthen democracy for a healthy environment, for racial equality, and for the livelihoods of future generations. Some held signs that encouraged onlookers simply to use their power, and vote.

After the ~6 mile journey, the walk ended in Depot Square, Peterborough, where walkers were greeted with music from FolkSoul Duo. Francie von Mertens, Grace Aldrich, and Rick Hubbard shared memories of Granny D, and stories of hope for our democracy. The walk was also a celebration of Rick Hubbard’s own walk across the country, Walking to Fix Democracy, that he will start October 1. His journey is available at

Francie von Mertens

Grace Aldrich

Rick Hubbard

Granny D showed the country the incredible power of everyday people to make positive change. The problem Granny D highlighted, the power of wealthy special interest groups to sway elected officials who should only be accountable to the voters, continues to this day. Those who shared the road Saturday understood that we cannot take our democracy for granted, and that we must do democracy, with actions daily, weekly, to achieve a democracy that works for us all.

2022 Annual Meeting Celebration

Last Wednesday, supporters and advocates of Open Democracy gathered at the beautiful, politically-historic home of Arnie Arnesen to celebrate a year in review. For some, this was the first time meeting outside the virtual zoom box, and warm feelings of friendship filled the air. 

The program began with Olivia Zink, Executive Director, sharing the challenge in the words of Benjamin Franklin, "a Republic, if you can keep it." The evening transitioned into stories about the negative effects of wealthy special interest lobbying on our everyday lives, from the gun lobby to big pharma, after which tears of frustration turned to laughter with the songs of the "Corruption Chorus."

Attendees listening to the closing speaker, Arnie Arnesen.




Pictured: Senator Perkins Kwoka, Democracy Champion award recipient. Senator Martha Fuller Clark received the Granny D award for her career-long dedication to protecting our democracy, and Dave Andrews received the Map Award for outstanding commitment to the Map-A-Thon project and fair redistricting.

The 2022 Annual Meeting was both humbling and inspiring, with attendees left feeling like we have our work laid out for us next year to defend our democracy. Whether registering voters, or educating about pro-democracy bills in the legislature, that work will only be successful with this wonderful community, done together.

Redistricting Public Hearings Across the State

Take part in public "listening sessions" by the NH House and NH Senate around the state.   One hearing is being held before the maps are drawn, and we're advocating for a second round of hearings for the public to analyze the finished maps.   Why?  Because we're suspicious of anti-voter faction members within the committee who may be scheming a gerrymandered Congressional district map.  

Get involved!  Speak up! 

Other important issues:

  • 62 Towns which were eligible for their own NH House district did not get it in 2011
  • NH Senate Districts ignored "communities of interest," crossing county lines, through regional high schools, and bisecting public health regions
  • NH Executive Council districts include District 2, which packs Democratic-leaning towns into one district which snakes from Vermont to Maine.
  • Some towns districted together are joined in lakes, in the middle of the woods, and in some cases force their legislators to drive out of the county to get to the other side.

Wow, What a Celebration!

We were so gratified by the 110 people who joined us on Sunday, Jan. 24 for Granny D Day! Great music, stories and calls to action by our generous speakers. A special thanks to Professor Larry Lessig and 350 founder Bill McKibben, who stepped in on short notice for the under-the-weather Bill Moyers, who sent his best to all of you by email.

If you missed the presentation, take few minutes this weekend to listen to this wonderful presentation.

Are you prepared to vote in the NH state primary on Sept. 8

Have you planned how you're going to vote safely on September 8 in NH's state primary?

You have options if you act quickly.



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Aug. 8th in Keene - Join us for the Granny D Memorial Walk

Join us Aug. 8th for the annual Granny D Memorial Walk, celebrating "100 Years of Women Walking for Democracy"  -- 

Go HERE for more info and for the mandatory online registration! 

Walk - Rally - Ice Cream!

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Walk this Sunday to Inform Voters About Absentee Voting

Walk this Sunday to Inform Voters About Absentee Voting


PORTSMOUTH—Recent COVID-19 accommodations by New Hampshire's Secretary of State and Attorney General allow for voters to use an absentee ballot for the Sept. 8 state primary and Nov. 3 general elections. The problem is, most voters don't know that's an option.

Sunday, July 5, volunteers with Open Democracy, a New Hampshire nonprofit which works on voting rights, money-in-politics and campaign finance reform, will be holding signs in and around Portsmouth to help spread the word, and will even have absentee ballot applications for anyone who wants one. All volunteers holding signs will be socially distanced and be wearing masks. Anyone wishing to help hold signs may meet for instructions at 2 p.m. Sunday at Lafayette Plaza, 775 Lafayette Rd, then be dispersed to other locations around the city.

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Hear the latest Open Democracy Minute!


Every Monday, Open Democracy produces the Open Democracy Minute, a 90-second radio short on a Democracy Reform topic.   Over 40 of these have been distributed in the last year, with topics ranging from redistricting, to the effort to overturn Citizens United, to voter-owned honest elections.     Click "Continue Reading" below to find out how to listen, or subscribe to the podcast.


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