How do I vote using an absentee ballot in New Hampshire?
If you want to vote in New Hampshire but can’t make it to the polls on Election Day (for certain reasons), you can request an absentee ballot from your town clerk. Once you’ve filled out your absentee ballot, you can mail it in or submit it in person to your clerk.
If you are eligible to vote in New Hampshire and you want to vote using an absentee ballot instead of showing up to the polls on Election Day, you have to have an acceptable reason for doing so. According to New Hampshire law, this includes having a disability, being temporarily absent from home, serving in the military, religious obligations, or a work schedule or caregiving duties that tie you up during polling hours.
There is also a provision in the law that allows you to vote absentee the day prior to the election if the National Weather Service issues a severe weather warning for your area for voting day and you feel voting in person during the storm would be dangerous. This also applies if you believe scheduled care for children or infirm adults will be canceled, impeding your ability to vote in person. Read the full text of the law.
Before you can vote, you must be registered, but you can register by mail as well. For more details on how to register to vote, check out this article.
If you’re eligible under any of these conditions, proceed to Step 2.
The absentee ballot request form is available here on the NH Secretary of State’s website. Fill out the form using pen or number 2 pencil—don’t use a sharpie or marker. If you are visually-impaired, the application for an Accessible Absentee Ballot can be read with NVDA and JAWS screen readers using Adobe Reader.
Submit your completed application to your town or city clerk. You can do so by mail, fax, email, or hand delivery at your local clerk’s office.
If your application is accepted, you will receive an absentee ballot packet in the mail that includes a ballot and a special “affidavit envelope” to keep your vote sealed. You can fill out the ballot the same way you would in person at the voting booth. If you have a disability, someone can help you fill in the ballot—they just have to sign the affidavit envelope (see Step 5).
This step is very important to get right, because if you make a mistake, your vote may not be counted! Once you’ve filled in your ballot, put it in the provided affidavit envelope and seal it. Then, sign one of the two affidavits on that envelope, whichever one best suits your situation.
Then, place the affidavit envelope inside the return envelope. Any other return documents you have, like voter registration materials, also go in the return envelope. Don’t put them in the affidavit envelope.
You can mail your absentee ballot by filling out the return envelope fully and affixing the proper postage, or you can deliver it by hand to your local clerk. You can have someone drop off the ballot on your behalf, so long as they meet the legal definition of a “delivery agent” and bring a photo ID with them. (Generally speaking, a “delivery agent” must be immediate family unless you live in a nursing home or other residential care facility.)
Absentee ballots are accepted up until 5:00 p.m. on election day. If you wish to check the status of an absentee ballot you have already mailed or submitted, you can do so here.
Do you have questions about any of the steps above? You can always email us at email@example.com.