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Stateside: New Hampshire Primary Results - Part 1

Stateside with Rosalea Barker

New Hampshire Primary Results - Part 1

In August 2007, I went to a small town in the North Country of New Hampshire to find out how NH primaries work, and interviewed some potential—though in one case not likely—voters. The story is here. At the end of the interviews is some background information about New Hampshire’s voting process.

::Results announced on Monday, January 7::
The town I stayed in last August, Littleton, is not very far from the tiny hamlet of Dixville Notch, whose election results I watched on local television news in California during the 9 pm bulletin last night, Monday, January 7. The polling place in a famous resort hotel opened at midnight, seventeen people voted, and the polls closed shortly thereafter.

Of the 10 people who chose to vote in the Democratic primary, Obama got 7 votes, Edwards 2, and Richardson 1. Seven people voted on the Republican side McCain won 4, Romney 2, Giuliani 1. It seems the registered independents chose to pick up a Democratic ballot instead of a Republican one at Dixville Notch.

Media coverage makes this sound significant; does the media coverage also MAKE it significant in actuality? If so, then you have to hope that the power thus given to just 17 voters doesn’t also result in their palms being greased one way or another. Just to be sure, why not ban all media coverage of all election results until after the normal close of polls in New Hampshire?

::Who’s on the ballots?::
Sample ballots are available on the NH Secretary of State’s website. There are three candidates for Vice President on the ballots as well, but that’s more a reflection of the ballot access laws in New Hampshire than of anything else.

For example, candidates filing for President or VP in parties other than Republican and Democrat, need to pay $250 by June 13 to be put on the September state primary ballot. Just $2 gets you into the primary race for representative in the state legislature in New Hampshire, along with the signatures of 150 people who are nominating you.

Which begs the question: what is there to stop someone who has already voted in this January primary from re-registering with some other party down the line and voting in their September primary? Or independents voting in both January and September? Is there a law against it, and the money available for elections officials to have access to an accurate statewide database of voters that shows whether or not they’ve already voted?

Okay, why would any voter want to do that? Well, what if a new centrist party forms in time to run a candidate for the November general election, but decides to hold primary elections before then to select who that candidate would be. You know, just to give voters the illusion that the party hierarchy hasn’t already decided it.


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