INSTITUTE FOR RESPONSIVE GOVERNMENT RELEASES COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF NEW HAMPSHIRE ELECTION INFRASTRUCTURE
Provides common sense spending and policy recommendations to policymakers, media and public in the lead up to 2022 midterms and expected high turnout
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2022
CHICAGO, IL — Today, the Institute for Responsive Government is releasing its first-ever series of white papers reviewing state election infrastructure with recommendations for funding allocations and improvements that will break down barriers to access and increase democratic participation.
IRG published eight white papers detailing the current state of New Hampshire election materials, funding, workers, and policy — identifying multiple ways New Hampshire can better invest funds and upgrade its voter engagement systems in order to provide a more equitable and accessible voting experience for the 2022 midterms.
“New Hampshire has some of the most engaged voters and election workers in the country,” said IRG Executive Director Sam Oliker-Friedland. “They deserve to have the tools necessary to run this process effectively and efficiently. With minimal upgrades and investment — often allocating funds NH has already been granted — New Hampshire’s local election officials can ensure that every eligible voter has their voice heard come Election Day.”
Quote from IRG team providing testimony
The eight IRG white papers dive into various aspects of NH election infrastructure that can be immediately improved to support local election workers and voters. Researched and drafted by IRG’s team of experts — which include veteran election administrators and experts on election law and policy — they reflect best practices from leading election jurisdictions in New Hampshire and across the country.
Allocating unspent HAVA funds. Since 2018, the federal government has provided states two major election funding grants under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA): the 2020 CARES Act grants and the 2018, 2020, and 2022 election security grants. But the majority of New Hampshire’s security grant funds remain unspent. The state should extend some of the remaining funds directly to local election officials to address their needs—including recruitment and training of poll workers. It should also fund investments in technology to facilitate more secure and accurate voter registration and list maintenance.
Ballot Tabulation Equipment. There is an urgent need in New Hampshire for upgraded election equipment. Most election officials in New Hampshire count ballots using outdated tabulation machines that are slow and prone to breakdowns. To securely provide quick and
accurate election results, New Hampshire must invest in ballot tabulation technology.
Automatic Voter Registration in NH. New Hampshire can adopt Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) to increase the accuracy of the state’s voter rolls and save state and local election officials money. 22 states and the District of Columbia have adopted AVR since 2015. AVR provides states with substantially more complete and accurate voter registration lists, reducing costs and creating a more efficient and secure election process.
Absentee Voting in NH. Although absentee voting in New Hampshire has traditionally been restricted to voters with a specific set of reasons for doing so (like disability, absence on Election Day, and so on), the temporary expansion of absentee voting during the COVID-19 pandemic increased efficiency and voter turnout. Given its success, the policy should be extended permanently so that all New Hampshire voters can request and cast an absentee ballot.
Online Voter Registration in NH. Online Voter Registration (OVR) would let New Hampshire citizens register to vote or update an existing registration online. OVR replaces expensive, insecure, and error-prone paper forms and makes voter registration more secure, efficient, and cost-effective. 42 states already have OVR, including all of New Hampshire’s neighbors.
Adoption of Electronic Pollbooks. As a result of bipartisan legislation supported by local clerks and the New Hampshire Municipal Association, state law authorizes jurisdictions to purchase and use e-pollbooks as long as they comply with security requirements. E-pollbooks have become key technological components of a smooth and secure Election Day experience, and more NH jurisdictions should purchase and use them.
ERIC Membership. The Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) is an efficient, cost-effective, and reliable tool for New Hampshire to improve voter registration list maintenance. ERIC is a non-profit organization consisting of 31 member-states, including New Hampshire’s neighbors, which pool voter registration information and motor vehicle data to identify duplicate registration records, as well as registrants who have moved, died, or voted in multiple states. Member-states can then use this information to update their voter rolls and investigate potential instances of fraud.
Translated Election Materials. To assist voters with limited English proficiency (LEP), New Hampshire should consider translating election materials into additional languages. The 2020 Census identified nearly 30,000 LEP citizens in New Hampshire who speak Spanish as their primary language and another 20,000 LEP citizens who speak a variety of Asian languages (including Chinese, Hindi, and Korean). Without translated registration and voting materials, these voters are forced to rely on friends, family, and other translators for assistance, or simply review and complete documents (including ballots and registration forms) without full translation of the content. New Hampshire can assist these voters at limited cost by providing translated versions of ballots, websites, and voter registration materials.