Bill Details - SB44 (2019)










AN ACT relative to election procedures, delivery of ballots, and assents to candidacy.


SPONSORS: Sen. Birdsell, Dist 19; Sen. Carson, Dist 14; Sen. Gray, Dist 6; Rep. Hoelzel, Rock. 3; Rep. B. Griffin, Hills. 6


COMMITTEE: Election Law and Municipal Affairs






This bill clarifies that unused absentee ballots shall be used as election day ballots if the supply of election day ballots becomes exhausted and that anyone in line to register to vote or to vote before the closing of the polls shall be entitled to vote.  This bill also amends the amount of votes needed to award a nomination in the case of a disqualification of a write-in candidate in state primary elections.


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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.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


AN ACT relative to election procedures, delivery of ballots, and assents to candidacy.


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


1  Nominations; Nominations by Primary; Assent to Candidacy.  Amend RSA 655:25 to read as follows:

655:25  Assent to Candidacy.  No primary petitions as provided in RSA 655:21 shall be accepted by the official with whom they are to be filed unless there is attached thereto an assent to candidacy in the following form subscribed to by the person who seeks to have his name printed upon the primary ballot:

State of New Hampshire

I, ____________________, of __________ in the county of __________ do hereby assent to the printing of my name on the primary ballot as requested in the attached petition. I further declare that I am a registered member of the __________ party.

(Signed) ____________________

State of New Hampshire

County of ___________________

The above-named, ________________, personally known to me (or who has proven his or her identity to me), appeared and made oath that the above declaration by him subscribed is true.

Before me,  


Justice of the Peace, [or] Notary Public, Town/City Clerk, or Deputy Clerk

2  Pre-Election Procedure; Election Day Morning Procedures; Delivery of Ballots to Additional Polling Place.  Amend RSA 658:33 to read as follows:

658:33  Delivery of Ballots to Additional Polling Place.  Before the polls are opened at the central polling place on the day of an election, the town clerk shall seal up the 2 duplicate copies of the checklist for each additional polling place lodged with the clerk by the supervisors with [a] the number of blank ballots determined by the moderator to be likely to be sufficient for the voters expected to vote at the additional polling place [equal to the number of voters on such checklist and 50 additional ballots].  If the moderator has authorized the counting of votes and thereby authorized the processing of absentee ballots at the additional polling place, the absentee ballots of those persons qualified to vote in that additional polling place shall be sealed up along with a list of those persons qualified to vote at that additional polling place to whom absentee ballots have been sent pursuant to RSA 657:15.  This package shall be prepared and sealed in the presence of the moderator and selectmen and shall be delivered immediately to the assistant moderator of the additional polling place by 2 election officers designated by the moderator.

3  Election Procedure; Voting Procedure; Who Can Vote.  Amend RSA 659:12 to read as follows:

659:12  Who Can Vote.

I.  All persons whose names are entered upon the corrected checklist brought by the town or ward clerk to the polling place shall be entitled to vote.

II.  No person whose name is not upon the checklist shall be allowed to vote, unless, in the opinion of the supervisors of the checklist, it clearly appears that the name of a qualified voter has been omitted from the checklist by clerical error or mistake or the person registers to vote at the polling place [that the person is a serviceman on leave who is qualified to vote and who by reason of such service was not in the town or city of his or her legal domicile at the time of the last session of the supervisors of the checklist].

III.  At the time set for closing the polls to voting, if a line of voters waiting to check in or of people seeking to register to vote and then vote exists, all people who join that line by the moment when the polls close to voting and all who are in line shall be permitted to apply for registration and, if registered, to vote.  If lines of cars containing those seeking to vote exist due to parking not being available or other traffic congestion, election officials and law enforcement shall work to identify the last person who joins the line of cars at the moment when the polls close to voting and allow that person and all who previously joined the line to obtain parking, enter the polling place, apply for registration, and, if registered, vote.

4  Election Procedure; Voting Procedure; Unofficial Ballots.  Amend RSA 659:24 to read as follows:

659:24  Unofficial Ballots.

I.  If the supply of official election day ballots shall become exhausted before the closing of the polls, it shall be the duty of the town or city clerk to [cause unofficial ballots to be prepared as provided in RSA 658:35.] provide additional ballots by placing unused absentee ballots into use as election day ballots or, if the supply of unused absentee ballots is exhausted, causing unofficial ballots to be prepared by photocopying an official election day ballot.

II.  The clerk, a deputy, or assistant shall write his or her signature or initials in a blank space near the top of each unused absentee ballot and each photocopied ballot to authenticate that ballot for use as an election day ballot.

III.  The clerk shall certify to the moderator the number of such ballots made available for use.

IV.  The moderator and clerk shall monitor election day turnout.  If exhaustion of the supply of election day ballots is likely, the clerk shall prepare additional ballots before the supply is exhausted.  To the extent practical, the moderator shall ensure a ballot is promptly available for each voter.

V.  Except as provided in this section and in RSA 658:35, no ballot without the official endorsement shall be allowed to be deposited in the ballot box.

5  Election Procedure; Prohibited Acts; Marking Ballot by Election Officers.  Amend RSA 659:36 to read as follows:

659:36  Marking Ballot by Election Officers.  No mark of any nature shall be placed on any ballot by an election officer except as provided in RSA 659:20, 659:22, 659:26-a, and 659:51.  Whoever knowingly violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

6  Election Procedure; Completing the Count and Announcing the Results; Final Counting; Results.  Amend RSA 659:70 to read as follows:

659:70  Final Counting; Result.  The final count of all votes on all ballots cast at the central and additional polling places, if any, shall be combined and the moderator shall announce the final count for each office and question.

7  Canvass and Declaration; State Primary Election; Write-In Votes and Nomination.  Amend RSA 659:88, II to read as follows:

II.  If a person is disqualified from a nomination in accordance with the provisions of paragraph I, then the nomination shall be awarded to the qualified person who received the highest number of votes, provided that person received at least 35 votes.

8  Canvass and Declaration; State Primary Election; Candidate of One Party.  Amend RSA 659:91-a to read as follows:

II.  Notwithstanding the provisions of RSA 655:37, if any candidate is disqualified from accepting the nomination of another party by means of write-in votes because the candidate is disqualified under the provisions of paragraph I, then the nomination shall be given to the candidate who received the highest number of write-in votes and who was not disqualified under the provisions of paragraph I, so long as he or she receives [10] 35 write-in votes, or write-in votes equaling 10 percent or more of the total votes cast for that party on the state primary election ballot, whichever is the smaller.

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


Date Status
Jan. 3, 2019 Introduced 01/03/2019 and Referred to Election Law and Municipal Affairs; SJ 4
Jan. 30, 2019 Hearing: 01/30/2019, Room 102, LOB, 09:00 am; SC 8
March 7, 2019 Committee Report: Ought to Pass, 03/07/2019; Vote 5-0; CC SC 12
March 7, 2019 Ought to Pass: MA, VV; OT3rdg; 03/07/2019; SJ 7
March 20, 2019 Introduced 03/20/2019 and referred to Election Law HJ 11 P. 69
April 10, 2019 Public Hearing: 04/10/2019 01:30 pm LOB 308
April 25, 2019 Executive Session: 04/25/2019 11:00 am LOB 308
Retained in Committee

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 30, 2019 Senate Hearing
March 7, 2019 Senate Floor Vote
April 10, 2019 House Hearing
April 25, 2019 House Exec Session

Bill Text Revisions

SB44 Revision: 4967 Date: Jan. 17, 2019, 3:06 p.m.