New Hampshire’s state primaries are on Tuesday, September 13 – less than a month away. But for some residents, voting is now possible. The New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office distributed its mail-in ballots to cities this week. Eligible voters can now request, receive and cast their primary ballots.
After an unusual pandemic-era election in 2020, which saw a record number of mail-in votes in the state, mail-in voting rules are reverting to their pre-COVID 19 status.
Here’s what you need to know about absentee voting in 2022.
Who can get mail-in ballots?
To obtain an absentee ballot, a voter must know that they will either be away from the town or city where they live on Election Day, unable to turn up at the polls due to a disability or illness, unable to attend due to work or duty of care, or unable to attend due to religious practice.
Mail-in ballots are also permitted during extreme weather events. If the day before the election, the National Weather Service issues a winter storm, blizzard, or ice storm warning, and the person is elderly, has a disability, or will face complications with school closures in Due to these weather conditions, she may request postal ballots one day in advance.
How can I get a ballot?
If a voter meets the requirements, they can request an absentee ballot by completing an application form and submitting it to the Clerk’s Office. This form can be picked up and dropped off in person, printed at home and mailed, or emailed or faxed to the clerk. A digital copy of the application form is available on the Office of the Secretary of State website.
Once the request has been accepted, the ballot can either be mailed to the voter, delivered to the voter by the clerk’s office, or delivered personally to the voter at the clerk’s office. The voter will receive a ballot, a certificate to sign attesting that he has the right to vote in the municipality and that he has a legitimate reason to vote by post, as well as an envelope.
Some voters with disabilities may also receive an electronic copy of their ballot that they can complete on a computer at home and print themselves. Details on this process are below.
How to vote by mail?
After you complete the ballot, complete the affidavit, and put both in the provided envelope, the ballot can be returned to the Clerk’s Office in person or mailed to the Clerk’s Office.
Should I do it myself?
No. New Hampshire law allows voters to use delivery agents to submit mail-in ballot requests and submit ballots.
These agents may include “spouse, parent, brother, sister, child, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, parent-in-law (or ) the son-in-law”, according to the statute.
It can also be a staff member or administrator of a nursing home, a staff member or administrator of a residential care facility or a caregiver a blind or disabled voter, provided the voter has signed an Affidavit of Acceptance.
What is the deadline for voting by post?
If a voter wishes to drop off the absentee ballot in person, they must return it to the city clerk’s office by 5 p.m. the day before the election. The voter can go to the clerk’s office, request a ballot using the request form and receive the ballot the same day, as long as it is deposited before the 5th.
A voter can also send a delivery agent to submit the absentee ballot any time before 5 p.m. on Election Day. Voters can also mail ballots, but ballots will only be counted if received by 5 p.m. on Election Day.
What if I test positive for COVID?
If a voter tests positive for COVID-19 before Election Day, they are eligible to vote by mail, Secretary of State Dave Scanlan said in an interview. A recent diagnosis of COVID-19 falls under the definition of “physical disability” for the purposes of mail-in voting, Scanlan said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people who test positive for COVID-19 self-isolate for five days.
Those who have tested positive can use a delivery agent to submit the affidavit, pick it up and deliver the ballot.
However, mail-in ballots are not available to voters who simply fear catching COVID-19 at the polls, Scanlan said, unless they have a medical condition that puts them at high risk. of coronavirus.
This is a change from the 2020 election, when the Secretary of State’s office issued guidelines allowing any voter concerned about COVID to request an absentee ballot by checking the disability box on the affidavit. This guidance has since ended.
What is the Accessible Electronic Voting System and who can use it?
The Accessible Absentee Electronic Ballot System is a tool first implemented in the 2020 election that allows voters with print disabilities to receive an electronic copy of their ballot which they can then complete using a digital program on their computer and print at home.
The system is available to voters with conditions that impair their ability to read the ballot, including low vision, blindness or a learning disability.
Print-impaired voters who can go to the polls in person can use “One4all,” an accessible voting system that uses a tablet and reads candidates’ choices to that voter.
What has changed since the last municipal elections?
In 2020, the Attorney General and Secretary of State issued guidelines that all residents could vote by mail on the basis of disability, due to the coronavirus state of emergency.
That same year, lawmakers passed a bill with a slew of temporary tools municipal election officials could use to help deal with an anticipated flood of mail-in ballots. These tools allowed municipalities to create drop boxes to accept mail-in ballots and gave election officials the ability to partially pre-process mail-in ballots before Election Day to reduce their workload. work.
These provisions have now expired and eligibility to vote by mail has reverted to the previous restrictions.
“The voting process in 2022 is the same as in 2018,” Scanlan said. “It’s like the COVID pandemic never happened.”
For more information on how to vote by mail, visit the Office of the Secretary of State website at https://www.sos.nh.gov/elections.
This story was originally posted by New Hampshire Bulletin.