How do I vote on Election Day?
There are two ways to vote in New Hampshire: by mail using an absentee ballot or by voting in person on Election Day. Voting on Election Day might mean standing in line, but it’s also a wonderful way to participate in democracy on the federal, state, and local levels. If you’ve never voted in person before, or it’s been a while, you might not be sure exactly where to go, what identification you need to bring, and so on. In this article, we’ll break down in simple terms everything you need to know to vote on Election Day.
Before you can go vote on Election Day, you need to determine the date of election day! You can do that by visiting the elections page on our website. Every election cycle features primary elections and general elections. In a primary election, voters from each party vote on which candidates they’d like to see running in a general election. Then, in the general election, voters decide who will hold each office. Learn more about primary elections on the NH Secretary of State’s website.
You can register to vote in New Hampshire if you are a U.S. citizen, spend the majority of the year living in New Hampshire*, and will be at least 18 years old on the date of the next election. You can also vote in a New Hampshire election if you go to college here, so long as you don’t plan on voting back home as well. There is no minimum period of time you must live in the state in order to be eligible.
*New Hampshire considers voting a way of declaring residency. That means that if you want to vote, you’ll also need to follow New Hampshire’s other residency laws. For example, if you own or drive a car in New Hampshire you may need to get a New Hampshire driver’s license and/or register your vehicle in New Hampshire.
Once you determine you are eligible to vote in New Hampshire, you’ll need to register to vote. There are a few ways of doing this, and we have a whole article explaining the exact steps here.
You can visit your local clerk’s office and tell them you wish to register to vote. The deadline to register ahead of Election Day is between 6-13 days ahead of time, depending on what town you live in. You can find the name and contact information of your town and city clerk here.
If you aren’t able to register ahead of time, you can also register on Election Day when you show up to vote.
Lastly, you may be able to register by mail if you meet certain criteria, like if you are disabled or serving in the military. Learn more here.
Not sure if you are registered to vote already? You can find out here.
This part is easy: You can find your polling place and its hours of operation by filling out this online form. You can also ask your town clerk.
Voters need to show an approved form of ID, like a driver’s license or passport. Many New Hampshire student IDs are also accepted. You can find a full list of approved IDs here.
You may be wondering, “what happens if I show up to vote but don’t have identification with me?” You’ll still be allowed to vote, you’ll just need to fill out a sworn affidavit stating that you are indeed eligible to vote and have your photo taken. You can ask your election moderator for this.
If you fill out an affidavit to vote, you will receive a verification letter after the election that you must return within 30 days. If you do not return the letter, the Attorney General will investigate whether you voted fraudulently.
Once you arrive, you’ll have the opportunity to register if you haven’t already.
You will show your I.D. to a local official, he or she will mark your name, and then you will get a ballot. You will walk to a private booth where you will fill out the ballot. The ballot will feature a detailed explanation of how to do this properly.
You do not need to vote for someone in every race; even if you only cast a vote for one person, your ballot still counts. There is also a space to write in a name if you do not want to vote for any of the candidates.
If you're not sure who to vote for, visit our elections page to find candidate profiles.
Once you’re done, you will turn in your ballot as you leave. Congratulations—you just participated in democracy!
If a poll worker tries to prevent you from voting, you can start by talking to your election moderator. The next step is to reach out to the New Hampshire Attorney General through their hotline, 1-866-868-3703 (866-VOTER03). If you still believe you have been wrongly denied the opportunity to vote, you can file an election law complaint with the New Hampshire Department of Justice. Visit the New Hampshire DOJ’s website for more information or check the NH Secretary of State's website for details on how to file an election law complaint.
Note that New Hampshire law forbids wearing political clothing at polling places. Hats, t-shirts, or other garments that advocate for or against any candidate, political party, or measure being voted on are prohibited.