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Student Vote

Citizens Count Editor

Students make up a large portion of the population in several towns in New Hampshire, including Durham, Keene, Hanover, and Plymouth. The issue of these students and their right to vote has been the subject of bills nearly every legislative session for the past few years.

Learn more about voter registration and how to vote in New Hampshire

Where should college students vote?

When it comes to voting, college students in and from New Hampshire have a choice:

  • They can vote in their home state using an absentee ballot.
  • They can vote in person in the state where they attend school. 

A college student must choose one option or the other: to do both would constitute an act of voter fraud. 

Voting while studying in NH

New Hampshire law does allow adults over age 18 who are attending college here to vote in our elections. 

  • Like all voters, they must register to vote.
  • They must also present an ID at the polls or sign an affadavit. Currently, a student ID for a New Hampshire college or university is still considered valid ID for voting purposes. 

As of July 2019, voting in New Hampshire will be equivalent to declaring legal residency in the Granite State. This means that students who opt to vote here will become subject to other requirements for state residents, such as the obligation to register cars here and to get a New Hampshire driver’s license.

Learn more about New Hampshire's voter residency requirements

Areas of controversy

Several changes in state policy on voting and registering to vote that could affect students have been considered in recent years. The most significant was the passage of HB 1264 (2018) in July 2018. Before that bill passed, out-of-state college students at New Hampshire schools could opt to vote in the Granite State without taking on the other obligations of residency.

HB 1264 (2018) took effect in July 2019. That bill has the effect of requiring anyone who votes in New Hampshire to fulfill other obligations of being a resident of the state, such as the requirement to get a Granite State driver’s license or register a car here.

Legislators have debated further requirements for student voters, including additional documentation from anyone registering to vote within 30 days of an election. Legislators have also debated removing college IDs from the list of identification allowed under the state's voter ID requirement.


Citizens Count Editor

"Students from out-of-state should be allowed to vote in NH elections."

  • Requiring out-of-state college students to register their cars in New Hampshire and get Granite State driver’s licenses amounts to a poll tax, which will deter them from participating in our democracy.
  • College students are, in fact, a part of the communities where they study. They work here, shop here, and play here. They should therefore have the right to vote here and help shape the policies that impact their lives.
  • New Hampshire’s population is getting older. The Granite State needs to attract and retain more young workers, and denying them the right to vote here will not make them feel welcome and invested in our state.

The preceding points were made by Jeanne Hruska, policy director for the ACLU-NH, in an opinion piece in Foster’s Daily Democrat in January 2018.

Citizens Count Editor

"Students from out-of-state should not be allowed to vote in NH elections."

  • Requiring out-of-state college students to commit to genuine residency in New Hampshire before voting here brings New Hampshire into line with every other state in the union.
  • It would be unfair to allow a college student whose true place of residency is in another state to vote in a New Hampshire election, effectively canceling out the vote of another life-long resident of the Granite State.
  • The New Hampshire Supreme Court has confirmed that the Granite State’s current voting laws are constitutional and do not unduly infringe upon the rights of college students to vote.
  • College students from out-of-state who do not wish to take on the obligations of being full New Hampshire residents are not disenfranchised. They can still vote. They simply must do so via absentee ballot in their home states.

The preceding points were made by Michael Graham, political editor of NH Journal, in a July 2018 opinion piece responding to Gov. Chris Sununu’s signing of HB 1264.


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I must say that I am absolutely disgusted that the out-of-state college students will be allowed to vote in our state elections!

This isn't a matter of voter fraud; this is a matter of students, with no ties to our state, being allowed to choose OUR governor, congress, senate, state and local legislature and then go back to their own state without a care of the leadership they left to us.

I got an absentee ballot to vote when I was an out-of-state college student. It isn't that hard!

I ask, what is next? Should we let the tourists get to vote here too? How about those who come up every weekend? At least many of them are property owners. If they want that much of a say in our elections, then they should become a resident.

If they're too lazy to obtain an absentee ballot from their own state, then why bother voting?


No excuses for the whiny dems.


All of the cons are well stated! Absolutely Not! There are no Pros that have any substance at all!


College students spend the majority of their year living in New Hampshire. Why shouldn't they have the right to vote here, if they choose to do so? If the concern is that they will also vote in their home states - that's already a crime, so enforce the laws that already exist for that crime. Disenfranchising legitimate voters is not a solution to preventing voter fraud - it's how we start undermining our democracy.


You ought to vote in the place where you have a real stake in the consequences of your vote. If you only live here because you happen to go to school here, and plan to leave as soon as you can, why would you want to vote here? Why wouldn't you vote where you are fully invested, in the place where you've set down your roots? Likewise, if you do want to vote here, excellent! But you should be willing to take on all the responsibilities of residency that come with it.


What " nonsense " from Conservatives - anything to get the upper-hand! People of age - should be able to VOTE where they are on election day - PERIOD. Arguments about taxes - they pay a fortune to the N.H. College they are attending ( along with revenue from their shopping, recreation, room and meals taxes, etc...); and as Far as " Home " they are here " most if not all year attending college " - THAT MAKES THEIR COLLEGE ADDRESS THEIR RESIDENCE ( home ) irregardless of WHERE THERE LICENSE OR REGISTRATION ARE FROM. New Hampshire " just wants to COLLECT CASH AS ALWAYS for anything they can, BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE A CIVILIZED AND PROGRESSIVE STATE INCOME TAX " - New Hampshire is a beautiful state but it is FOR THE RICH AND WELL OFF - Tax burden is mainly placed on property taxes ( which wealthy can easily pay ) but low middle class and the poor have to pay " Ridiculous Rents " and many on VERY LOW WAGES - DUE TO New Hampshire's ( well to do legislators - who only receive $200 a year - who don't vote the peoples will ) - LOWEST MINIMUM WAGE IN ALL OF NEW ENGLAND! The " corrupt SUNUNU Governors " continue to support corporations and VETO'S of anything that would cost employers a piece of PROFITS. GET RID OF SUNUNU and ENACT " Term Limits for Governor and Both houses in the Statehouse " - - - LASTLY New Hampshire " needs a PROGRESSIVE INCOME TAX - AND LIVING WAGES for ALL WORKERS "..........GOOD DAY


Voting is a privilege, and should be done with the utmost respect.
If someone doesn't understand the value of voting in their own state than I would wonder why would they want to vote in ours unless there is a alternative motive..... hmmm
No one should be voting in any other state except the one they live in and have permanent residence in!

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