WE APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

We continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at www.vnews.com/coronavirus. If you believe local news is essential, please consider subscribing or making a donation today. Learn more at the links below.


Voting in Vermont, New Hampshire: Your guide to getting registered and casting a ballot

  • Peterborough's 2020 Town Meeting was conducted via ballot voting at the Community Center on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (BEN CONANT / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Copyright Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to news@ledgertranscript.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/1/2020 8:54:43 PM
Modified: 10/2/2020 10:04:59 PM

WEST LEBANON — Election officials in the Twin States predict that the Nov. 3 election will see a record number of absentee ballots cast as voters look to avoid the polls amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Already, the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office says that more than 148,000 Granite Staters have requested absentee ballots for the 2020 election, nearly double the 75,000 cast four years ago.

Meanwhile, Vermont this week finished mailing out ballots to all active voters.

While both states have expanded opportunities to mail-in or hand-deliver ballots, navigating how to register, request and track ballots will be a new experience for many voters. The Valley News compiled this guide based on information distributed by the Secretary of State’s (SOS) offices to help voters navigate the process.

Obtaining an absentee ballot

Vermont: All registered voters in the Green Mountain State were mailed a ballot between Monday, Sept. 21 and Thursday, Oct. 1. The SOS says anyone who doesn’t receive their ballot by Oct. 7 should contact their town clerk.

Voters who lose their ballot or receive another person’s ballot by mistake should also contact their town clerk, the SOS says.

New Hampshire: Voters may request a ballot in-person at their local town or city clerk’s office or by filling out an application, which can be printed out from the SOS website at https://sos.nh.gov/elections/voters/voting-during-covid-19-state-of-emergency.

Voters who are casting an absentee ballot due to the coronavirus pandemic should select “I am unable to vote in person due to concern for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)” on the application.

If the application doesn’t have that reason — some older ones don’t — then people are allowed to select the “disability” option.

Once complete, the application can then be either mailed or hand-delivered to a voter’s local clerk’s office, which will then mail out a ballot.

Instructions for filling out and returning the ballot can also be found on the SOS website at https://sos.nh.gov/media/eiwnnszz/covid-19-absentee-ballot-instructions.pdf

In-person voting

Both states will allow for in-person voting on Election Day.

Vermont: Voters at the polls are asked to wear a mask, per the governor’s order requiring them indoors throughout the state, and bring the ballot they received in the mail with them. Those who don’t bring a ballot will still be allowed to vote but only after filling out an affidavit affirming they haven’t already done so.

New Hampshire: Voters are required to show either their license, passport, state-issued non-driver identification card or student ID when checking in at the polls. People who forget their ID or decline to show one must sign a challenged voter affidavit and have their picture taken.

Mask requirements in New Hampshire vary town-by-town. If a city or town requires masks, the state says it also must offer another way for unmasked voters to vote, which mean separate entrances or outside polling places set up by moderators.

Ballot due dates

Vermont: The SOS recommends that voters mail their ballots in by Oct. 24 to provide time for Postal Service delivery and sorting by town clerks.

New Hampshire: Officials recommend voters mail their ballots at least two weeks before Election Day, which means Oct. 20. Under state law, ballots must arrive by 5 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

Both states: Vermonters and Granite Staters also can drop their completed absentee ballots off at their clerk’s office (check with your clerk’s office for hours) or at the polls on Election Day.

Registering to vote in Vermont

Vermonters have three options to register to vote: online, by mail and in-person.

The online registration form can be found on the Vermont Secretary of State’s website at https://olvr.vermont.gov. Anyone registering for the first time must include a photocopy of one acceptable form of ID, which can include:

■a driver’s license or passport;

■a current utility bill;

■a current bank statement; or

■another government document containing the person’s residential address.

The SOS recommends people register by Oct. 30 for their name to appear on the checklist. People can also complete same-day registration at the polls.

Mail-in voter registration applications can also be found on the Vermont SOS website at https://sos.vermont.gov/elections/voters/registration.

People using that option also will be required to include a photocopy of an ID.

Registering in New Hampshire

Granite Staters who wish to register can either do so in-person, by mail or at the polls on Election Day.

Those hoping to register in-person in advance can do so that their clerk’s office. They will need to bring documents proving their identity, age, citizenship and domicile, according to the SOS — although a drivers license with the voters current address should meet those requirements.

Other ways to identify your identity include:

■a driver’s license or non-driver ID; or

■a birth certificate, U.S. passport or naturalization document.

Ways to prove where you live include:

■a document from a school showing that the person lives in campus housing;

■a note signed by a school official, including a resident assistant or another person with supervisory responsibility for a dorm;

■a rental agreement, lease, or similar document that shows the person’s name and the address; or

■a deed, property tax bill, utility bill or note from a homeless shelter.

Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses cannot be used as proof of citizenship, according to the SOS.

If a person doesn’t have the necessary documents, they can sign a qualified voter affidavit and/or domicile affidavit, under oath, in front of an election official.

People can find the full list of registration requirements at https://sos.nh.gov/media/jauab2fd/registering-to-vote-in-new-hampshire-sept2020.pdf.

Voters can also register via mail because of the coronavirus pandemic. An application can be found at https://sos.nh.gov/media/5kio3wfw/absentee-voter-registration-disabiity-or-covid.pdf.

Registering by mail also requires voters to enclose documents verifying their identity and residency. Complete instructions for filling out the application and mailing it in are at https://sos.nh.gov/media/upfnijty/absentee-registration-requirements-and-instructions-2020-08-08-covid-ada.pdf.

Residency

New Hampshire and Vermont both require voters to be at least 18 years old on the day of the election and a United States citizen.

New Hampshire: Voters must be domiciled in a community to vote.

A person’s domicile is defined as the “one place where a person, more than any other place, has established a physical presence and manifests an intent to maintain a single continuous presence for domestic, social, and civil purposes relevant to participating in democratic self-government.”

Students living in New Hampshire can claim the town they’re living in as a domicile; however, the SOS has warned that registering to vote can also trigger state residency law requirements, including the obligation to obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license and motor vehicle registration.

A guide on those requirements and how they relate to voting can be found at https://sos.nh.gov/elections/information/faqs/voter-registration-motor-vehicle-law/

Vermont: Voters must be residents, which is defined as someone who is “domiciled in the town as evidenced by an intent to maintain a principal dwelling place in the town indefinitely and to return there if temporarily absent, coupled with an act or acts consistent with that intent.”

Vermonters also must take a voter’s oath when registering. It can be self-administered and is included in online and paper registration applications.

Where to check absentee ballot, registration status

Vermont: The SOS has a “My Voter” page where people can look up their voter registration status and absentee ballot status, online at https://mvp.vermont.gov/.

Vermonters can also use the tool to look up their polling location and registration information on file at the town office, and to view sample ballots.

New Hampshire: The state has two online tools — one where people can look up their party registration, polling place and clerk’s information, online at https://app.sos.nh.gov/Public/PartyInfo.aspx.

Another tool that allows Granite Staters to track their absentee ballot application can be found at https://app.sos.nh.gov/Public/AbsenteeBallot.aspx.

Vermont town clerks in the Upper Valley

Barnard: Diane L. Rainey, 802-234-9211, barnardto@gmail.com

Bethel: Pamela Brown, 802-234-9722, betheltownclerk@comcast.net

Bradford: Sonya Mclam, 802-222-4727, clerk@bradford-vt.us

Bridgewater: Nancy Robinson, 802-672-3334, twnbridg@comcast.net

Chelsea: Karen Lathrop, 802-685-4460, town.clerk@chelseavt.us

Corinth: Nancy Ertle, 802-439-5850, townclerk@corinthvt.org

Fairlee: Georgette Wolf-Ludwig, 802-333-4363 ext. 1, townclerk@fairleevt.org

Hartford: Lisa O’Neil, 802-295-2785, loneil@hartford-vt.org

Hartland: Clyde A. Jenne, 802-436-2444, cjenne@hartlandvt.org

Newbury: Nikki Tomlison, 802-866-5521, clerk@newburyvt.org

Norwich: Bonnie J. Munday, 802- 649-1419 ext. 103, clerk@norwich.vt.us

Pomfret: Becky Fielder, 802-457-3861, clerk@pomfretvt.us

Randolph: Joyce L. Mazzucco, 802-728-5433 ext. 11, joyce@randolphvt.org

Royalton: Karmen Bascom, 802-763-7207, townclerk@royaltonvt.com

Sharon: Debra St. Peter, 802-763-8268 ext. 1, clerk@sharonvt.net

Strafford: Lisa M. Bragg, 802-765-4411, townclerk@straffordvt.org

Thetford: Tracy Borst, 802-785-2922, tborst@thetfordvt.gov

Tunbridge: Mariah Cilley, 802-889-5521, tctunbridge@live.com

Vershire: Gene Craft, 802-685-2227, clerk-treasurer@vershirevt.org

Weathersfield: Flo-Ann Dango, 802-674-9500, townclerk@weathersfield.org

West Fairlee: Staci Sargent, 802-333-9696, westfairleetc@hotmail.com

West Windsor: Cathy R. Archibald, 802-484-7212, townclerk@westwindsorvt.org

Windsor: Amy McMullen, 802-674-5610, amcmullen@windsorvt.org

Woodstock: F. Charles Degener III, 802-457-3611, clerk@townofwoodstock.org

NH town/city clerks in the Upper Valley

Canaan: Vicky J. McAlister, 603-523-7106, VMCALISTER@CANAANNH.ORG

Charlestown: Patricia E. Chaffee, 603-826-5821, PATRICIA@CHARLESTOWN-NH.GOV

Claremont: Gwendolyn R. Melcher, 603-542-7003, CITYCLERK@CLAREMONTNH.COM

Cornish: Paula Harthan, 603-675-5207, CORNISHTOWNCLERK@COMCAST.NET

Croydon: Charleen Little, 603-863-7830, tccroydon@outlook.com

Dorchester: Darlene E. Oaks, 603-786-9476, TCTC.DORCHESTER@GMAIL.COM

Enfield: Sandy Lee Romano, 603-632-5001, TOWNCLERK@ENFIELD.NH.US

Grafton: Bonnie J. Haubrich, 603-523-7270, GRAFTONTC2008@HOTMAIL.COM

Grantham: Kenneth Byrd Story, 603-863-5608, KSTORY@GRANTHAMNH.NET

Hanover: Elizabeth A. McClain, 603-640-3203, BETSY.MCCLAIN@HANOVERNH.ORG

Haverhill: Christina C. Hebert, 603-787-6200, TOWNCLERK@HAVERHILL-NH.COM

Lebanon: Kristin Marie Kenniston, 603-448-3054, CITYCLERK@LEBANONNH.GOV

Lyme: Patricia G. Jenks, 603-795-2535, PATTY@LYMENH.GOV

New London: Will Kidder, 603-526-1244, TCTC@NL-NH.COM

Newport: Liselle G. Dufort, 603-863-2224, CLERK@NEWPORTNH.GOV

Orange: Amy Elizabeth Tirpaeck, 603-523-4467, ORANGETOWNCLERK@MYFAIRPOINT.NET

Orford: Deborah M. Hadlock, 603-353-4404, TOWNCLERK@ORFORDNH.US

Piermont: Bernadette Ratel, 603-272-4840, PIERMONT.TOWN.CLERK@GMAIL.COM

Plainfield: Michelle Marsh, 603-469-3201, MMARSH@PLAINFIELDNH.ORG

Springfield: Pixie B. Hill, 603-763-4805, TOWNCLERK@SPRINGFIELDNH.ORG

Sunapee: Betty H. Ramspott, 603-763-2449, BETTY@TOWN.SUNAPEE.NH.US

Unity: Rosemary Heino, 603-542-9665, UNITYTOWNCLERK@MYFAIRPOINT.NET

More resources

Vermont: General information is online at https://sos.vermont.gov/elections/voters/. The SOS has also published a “Guide to Vermont’s Town Clerks, Treasurers & County Clerks” at https://sos.vermont.gov/media/vh1jv3oj/2019townclerkguide.pdf.

New Hampshire: The state has an informational page on voting during the COVID-19 pandemic at https://sos.nh.gov/elections/voters/voting-during-covid-19-state-of-emergency/.




Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784
603-298-8711

 

© 2020 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy