Bill would ease process for post-primary party switches in N.H.

Associated Press
Published: 1/22/2020 12:50:24 PM

New Hampshire voters who want to switch political parties after voting in a primary election would have an easier path under a bill before a Senate committee Wednesday.

Currently, the deadline to change parties before a primary is the day before the filing period opens for candidates to get on the ballot. For the upcoming Feb. 11 presidential primary, that was Oct. 25.

Those who aren’t affiliated with either party can temporarily declare themselves Democrats or Republicans to vote in the primary and then switch back to “undeclared” immediately after. But there’s no such provision for someone who shows up at the polls registered with one party and wants to switch to the other after voting.

The Senate Election Law Committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would allow any primary voter to either switch parties after voting or become undeclared.

“You could go from Democrat to undeclared, or Republican to Democrat, or Republican to undeclared, or Democrat to Republican, whichever you wish to do,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Shannon Chandley, D-Amherst.

Those kinds of requests come up quite frequently, said Jeanne Ludt, an election official in Amherst.

“It seems unusual, but they do,” she said. “So we want to make sure that whatever we have allows them to do whatever they want to do.”

Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan did not take a position on the bill, but said he saw no reason why members of political parties shouldn’t have the same opportunity as undeclared voters to make changes after casting their ballots.

“It is important that before the act of voting that people who are registered with a party are locked in from the day before the filing period until the primary,” he said. “The reason for that is to prevent games from being played with migrations from a party where there might be an uncontested race or races on the ballot moving into the other party to try to impact the outcome for that party’s primary.”

That’s what New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley apparently had in mind in October, when he was urging Republicans to re-register as undeclared and then vote in the Democratic presidential primary.

“To all the N.H. Republicans angry that their party has rigged the election for the corrupt, cruel and incompetent Trump, change to “Undeclared” and use your chance to vote for change, a vote that matters, for one of the 18+ amazing Dem candidates in the N.H. Primary!” he said in a tweet.

Stay informed with our free email updates
Concord Monitor Daily Headlines
Concord Monitor Breaking News
Concord Monitor Dining & Entertainment
Concord Monitor Report For America Education
Concord Monitor Report For America Health
Concord Monitor Real Estate
Concord Monitor Sports
Concord Monitor Suncook Valley
Concord Monitor Contests & Promotions
Concord Monitor Weekly Most Popular
Concord Monitor Granite Geek
Concord Monitor Monitor Marquee
Concord Monitor Hopkinton
Concord Monitor Politics
Concord Monitor MY CONCORD
Concord Monitor Franklin

Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301


© 2021 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy

Customer Service

Social Media


View All Sections

Part of the Newspapers of New England Family