Everything you need to know to vote in the 2024 New Hampshire primary

A bin of "I Voted Today" stickers rests on a table at a polling place, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Stratham, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

By Katy Savage

January 18, 2024

New Hampshire residents will have the opportunity to vote in the primary on Tuesday, Jan. 23,  for who they want to see on the ballot for president come November. The primaries help states and political parties choose presidential nominees before the general election, and this year promises to be an interesting one.

Have questions about voting on Tuesday? We’ve got everything you need to know below. 

How do I know if I can vote in New Hampshire?

You can vote in local, state, and federal elections in New Hampshire if you are:

  • a United States citizen
  • at least 18 years old
  • a New Hampshire inhabitant in the town or ward where you seek to vote

How do I register to vote?

First, head to the Secretary of State’s website or call your local clerk to check the status of your voter registration. If you’re not in the system, you’ll need to fill out a voter registration form at your local town clerk’s office. If you aren’t registered, you can register on election day.   

Do I need to bring anything with me to register?

Technically, yes. You should bring:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate, a U.S. passport, or naturalization papers
  • Proof of identity and age, such as a driver’s license, or government-issued photo ID
  • Proof of NH residence, such as a photo ID with current NH address listed, rental agreement or utility bill listing current NH address, or a note signed by a New Hampshire school official  

However, If you do not have proof or forgot to bring the documents, you can sign an affidavit attesting to any of these qualifications when you vote.

You should also note, this is New Hampshire’s first statewide election under the state’s new affidavit ballot law. People registering at the polls for the first time without valid identification will be required to use specially marked ballots. Failure to provide proof of eligibility to the Secretary of State’s office within seven days may result in the removal of their votes from the final tally.

Can I still vote on Tuesday if I haven’t registered by then?

Yes! Go to your local town clerk’s office or polling place and register to vote on election day. Just make sure to bring the above items if you can.

I’m a college student here in New Hampshire from another state. Can I vote?

Yes, if you don’t plan to vote anywhere else during the primary season! You’ll need a document from your school proving you live in campus housing. If you don’t have that, students can use a smartphone to show the election official a page from the college’s official student electronic records website. You can find more information here

I’m a Democrat who wants to vote for a Republican, or a Republican who wants to vote for a Democrat. Can I do that on Tuesday?

Not really.

If you’re a registered Republican, you can only vote in the Republican primary.

If you’re a registered Democrat, you can only vote in the Democratic primary.

If you’re registered as an undeclared voter, you can choose either a Democratic or Republican ballot when you go to vote.   

By the way: The deadline to change your party affiliation for the primary was Oct. 6, 2023. 

 What is an absentee ballot and can I get one? 

You can only get an absentee ballot under certain circumstances:

  • You will be out of town on election day
  • You have a religious observance, physical disability, or illness that prevents you from voting in person
  • You have an employment commitment or must care for an adult or child during the entire time polls are open

You should request an absentee voter registration affidavit, voter registration form, and instructions from your town or city clerk.  

Is it too late to get an absentee ballot?

No. You can get one the day before the election. All local clerks are required to be open from 3-5 p.m. the day before an election for people to apply for absentee ballots in person. Absentee ballots can be submitted up until 5 p.m. on election day.

 What if I’ve moved to a new town since I last voted? Do I need to re-register to vote?

Yes. After you’ve moved, you should go to your local town clerk’s office and re-register. Or, you can drive to your former town on election day and vote.  

What’s on the ballot?

You’ll see a lot of candidates. A total of 21 Democrats will appear on the New Hampshire primary ballot on Tuesday, in addition to the option to vote for a write-in candidate. The Republican ballot includes 24 candidates, with the option to vote for a write-in.  

You can see a sample ballot here. 

Interestingly, President Joe Biden, vying for the Democratic nomination for a second term, won’t appear on the ballot. He opted to bypass New Hampshire due to the state’s primary violating party rules.

Some New Hampshire Democrats have mounted an effort to encourage primary voters to cast their ballots for Biden as a write-in candidate. 

How do I cast a write-in vote for Biden? 

Voters will see instructions at the top of the ballot: “To vote for a person whose name is not printed on the ballot, write in the name of the person in the ‘WRITE-IN; space, and completely fill in the oval opposite your choice.” 

New Hampshire Secretary of State David M. Scanlan informed reporters that spelling or writing Biden’s name a specific way is not crucial, as long as the voter’s intent is evident. 

It will be up to local election officials to determine the voter’s intent. 

“If they write in just ‘Biden,’ I think that intent is very clear. If they write in ‘Bidon,’ I think the intent is still pretty clear,” Scanlan said in October. “If they just write ‘Joe,’ then you have to ask the question, well, are there any other Joe’s on the ballot or running. If there are, then you probably don’t know which ‘Joe’ the person’s voting for.”

How late are polls open on Tuesday?

Most polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. but you should check with your local town clerk’s office. 

There is at least one location that holds voting at midnight—making it the first place to open voting on primary day: the infamous Dixville Notch. The town has a population of six people, all of which are registered voters who are expected to vote at midnight.

 

Author

  • Katy Savage

    Katy Savage is an award-winning reporter with more than 10 years of experience working in daily, weekly and digital news organizations as both an editor and reporter. Based in Enfield, Katy is a New England native and has a passion for telling stories about where she grew up. In her free time, she enjoys running and being outside as much as possible.

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