Letter: Time to modernize office of the secretary of state

Published: 12/2/2018 12:01:06 AM

Unlike other states, New Hampshire does not elect its secretary of state. Rather, every two years our legislators chose for us. New Hampshire voters have no direct say in who runs our elections and no way to hold them accountable. The 2018 election demonstrated how important it is that voters know who makes the critical decisions affecting the democratic process in their states.

Our current secretary of state, William Gardner, has been in the job since 1976. Gardner deserves the approbation he received earlier in his tenure, but more recently he has failed to keep our voting equipment up to date, even though his office received federal funds for this purpose. Gardner has also steadfastly resisted technological upgrades to make voter registration procedures more accurate and secure.

A recent Northern Illinois University study evaluated the time and effort required to vote in all states. It revealed that in 1996 N.H. ranked fourth in the nation (as befits the first-in-the-nation primary state), but by 2016 we had plunged to 40th place. Gardner’s opposition to modernizing his office and implementing more secure and modern voter registration protocols has resulted in unnecessary obstacles that effectively prevent eligible voters from accessing the ballot box as is their constitutional right. And when the democratic process in New Hampshire is undermined by a failure to modernize, our first-in-the-nation primary is surely in jeopardy.

If voters could choose, we would choose change. Can you hear us in Concord?



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