Strong majority in favor of allowing towns to reschedule elections - 359 participants

Mar 14, 2017

On March 14, a nor’easter led moderators in many towns to reschedule town meeting day elections. The move exposed a possible ambiguity in New Hampshire’s law. A bill, SB 248, would provide legal protection for moderators who postponed their town’s elections, though it does not make any permanent adjustments to state law. Read more about this issue. On March 14, Citizens Count, NH’s Live Free or Die Alliance decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Do you think NH towns should have the power to reschedule local elections in cases of inclement weather?”  

“Do you think NH towns should have the power to reschedule local elections in cases of inclement weather?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

Rescheduling Town Elections New Hampshire Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 359 participants gave 601 responses

A total of 96% of those participating gave a ‘yes or no’ response to the question. The remaining 4% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a ‘yes or no’ response. In total, 359 individuals from New Hampshire contributed a total of 601 responses or reactions to this question. Click here for details on our methodology.

[Note: Citizens Count NH also received additional comments from 9 individuals from outside New Hampshire.]

What Participants Said:

Yes: A strong majority, at 87% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, were in favor of granting towns the power to reschedule local elections in the event of inclement weather. 

  • “Yes, reschedule or keep them open longer. Lives should not [be] risked in this manner to participate in civic duties.”
  • “Citizens have the right to change their voting time during a Nor'easter.  The state should not regulate a city or town's right.”
  • “Our town saw only around 150 voters all day (we usually get anywhere from 500-700). To me, this wasn't even fair to the candidates. … The issues that are brought up at town meeting are important ones and should have as many voters deciding on them as possible.”

No: The minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 13%, were opposed to giving towns the power to reschedule local elections in the event of inclement weather.  

  • “It hasn't been a need in the past, it's no­­t a need now.  Drive slowly, be careful, make the effort.  This is New Hampshire, not the deep south.”
  • “You can't just let towns randomly re-schedule voting day.”
  • “No. If there is a weather emergency a decision to cancel should be statewide as should the choice of an alternate date.”

Other: As noted above, 4% of those participating did not give a ‘yes or no’ response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:  

  • Public service: “Serving in the NH legislature should not be a lifetime ‘career’.”
  • Debating current legality: “The law already states it’s up to the moderator.”
  • Relevance: “What does it matter? We’ve already done it.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

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Related Bill

SB 248 (2017)
Bill Status: Signed by Governor
Hearing date: May 23, 2017

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