HB240 (2011) Detail

Allowing voters to vote for multiple candidates for an office.






AN ACT allowing voters to vote for multiple candidates for an office.

SPONSORS: Rep. D. McGuire, Merr 8; Rep. DeJong, Hills 9; Rep. Cohn, Merr 6; Rep. Bowers, Sull 3

COMMITTEE: Election Law


This bill eliminates statutory restrictions on the ability of voters to vote for multiple candidates for the same office.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven

AN ACT allowing voters to vote for multiple candidates for an office.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Designation of Office. Amend RSA 656:6 to read as follows:

656:6 Designation of Office. Immediately to the left of the set of party columns shall be an offices column which shall list the offices, each preceded by the word “For,” for which the candidates whose names are listed in the party columns have been nominated, as in “For Governor.” Below each such phrase shall be printed in small but easily legible letters “[Vote for not more than] ____ elected (here insert a number designating how many persons are to be [voted for] elected).”

2 Presidential Primary Election Ballot. Amend RSA 656:31 to read as follows:

656:31 Form. On the presidential primary election ballot of each political party, there shall be one column for the office of president. The column shall be headed “Candidate of the (insert name of party) Party for President of the United States.” Underneath this heading there shall appear the words: “I hereby declare my preference for candidate for the office of President of the United States to be as follows.” Below these words, there shall be printed [“(VOTE FOR NOT MORE THAN ONE)” followed by] the name, town or city, and state of each candidate with boxes directly to the right. There shall always be one blank space on the ballot below the candidates’ names to allow for writing in the name of a candidate.

3 Electronic Ballot Counting Device Testing. Amend RSA 656:42, VIII(e)(4) to read as follows:

(4) The town or city clerk shall mark the test ballots in such a way as to demonstrate a vote for each candidate on at least one test ballot, as well as votes for less than and more than the number of candidates that may be [voted for] elected to an office, write-ins, multiple votes for a candidate who appears in more than one party column for the same office on a general election ballot, and ballots on which there are no votes. The clerk shall mark as many as possible of the combinations of choices that a voter may indicate on the ballot.

4 Instructions to Voters. Amend RSA 659:17 to read as follows:

659:17 Marking the Ballot; Instructions to Voters. The secretary of state shall provide on the top of the general election ballot the following voting instructions. The secretary of state is authorized to replace the phrase “Make the appropriate mark” with an appropriate description and example of the mark to be made for the type of ballot in use, such as “Make a cross (X) in the box,” “Completely fill in the oval,” or “Complete the arrow”:

1) To Vote

Make the appropriate mark to the right of your choice or choices. [For each office vote for not more than the number of candidates stated in the sentence: “Vote for not more than ___.” If you vote for more than the stated number of candidates, your vote for that office will not be counted.]

2) To Vote by Write-In

To vote for a person whose name is not printed on the ballot, write in the name of the person in the “write-in” space. Make the appropriate mark to the right of your choice.

5 Town Elections; Preparation of Voting Materials. Amend RSA 669:23 to read as follows:

669:23 Preparation of Voting Materials. The town clerk shall prepare the official ballots for the town and shall arrange the names of candidates upon said ballots in parallel columns. Immediately above the names of each block of candidates shall be printed the title of the office for which they are candidates, such as “For Selectman.” Below the title of each office shall be printed in small but easily legible type the words “[Vote for not more than] ___ elected (here insert a number designating how many persons are to be [voted for] elected).” Directly to the right of the name of each candidate there shall be a square. Whenever there are 2 or more candidates for the same office the names shall be printed upon the ballot in the alphabetical order of their surnames according to the alphabetization procedure established in RSA 656:5-a. Following the names printed on the ballot under the title of each office, there shall be as many blank lines as there are persons to be elected to that office.

6 Repeal. RSA 659:73, I(c), relative to reporting unpermitted multiple votes on the election return, is repealed.

7 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.