It's a scary time to vote in New Hampshire due to the presence of the coronavirus and Covid 19. Municipalities are only now starting to grapple with what changes will be necessary to maintain social distancing, sanitized surfaces, logistics of getting people in and out of the building, and keeping poll workers safe, many of whom are over 60 years old.
Fortunately, New Hampshire's Secretary of State has made temporary accommodations for any voter with Covid 19 concerns to be able to vote with an absentee ballot rather than in person. This accommodation is effective for any municipal, state or federal election in 2020, the two biggest being the September 8, 2020 state primary for Governor, Executive Council, Senate, and State Representative, and the November 3, 2020 general election for those positions, U.S. Senate and President of the United States.
We have created a page called "How to Vote by Absentee Ballot in New Hampshire" which will give you both the routine rules for requesting and filling out the absentee ballot request form, as well as filling out and returning the absentee ballot itself.
To Request an Absentee Ballot: "How to Vote by Absentee Ballot in New Hampshire"
To Register to Vote in NH During Covid 19: (Coming soon: We're waiting for guidance from the Secretary of State on registering by mail during Covid 19)
Vote-by-mail absentee ballots have been used in New Hampshire for a century. Absentee ballots are traditionally used when the voter will be out of state or far away from their town, on religious holidays, and other reasons specified below. There are two applications, one for town elections, and another for state and federal elections. For any questions specific to your town, your town clerk and supervisor of the checklist are the two primary election officials dealing with absentee ballots.
Those issues which pertain specifically to absentee voting during the Covid 19 pandemic are listed in dark red, below.
Voting by Absentee Ballot in NH - Normal Circumstances
- Physical disability
- Religious observance
- Absence from City on day of election
- Employment obligations. For the purpose of absentee voting, the term "employment" shall include the care of children and infirm adults, with or without compensation.
Efforts are underway to eliminate these excuses and implement no-excuse or vote-by-mail, both of which make voting accessible to more eligible voters, but these efforts have not been approved by the legislature and governor at this time. (Call your legislators!)