You may not feel like you have a lot of power as a voter, but in New Hampshire every vote really does count. If you’re on the fence about visiting the polls this November, here’s proof of the power of one vote.
Races decided by a handful of votes
Each election year multiple New Hampshire races are decided by less than half a dozen votes.
In the Democratic primary this September, newcomer Peyton McManus was just four votes shy of unseating long-term Durham representative Timothy Horrigan.
In Manchester Ward 9, Democrat Candace Moulton beat Josh Query by just five votes. (In a twist of fate, another Manchester Democrat withdrew from the general election, and the Democratic Party appointed Josh Query to fill that vacancy.)
There were close races in the Republican primaries, too. In Grafton District 3, which covers Easton, Lincoln, Livermore, and Woodstock, incumbent Bonnie Ham edged out Paul Schirduan by just four votes.
The closest race so far this year was in Conway. Republicans Michael DiGregorio and Mark Hounsell tied in their race, with 445 votes each. Ties are common enough in New Hampshire that there is an established process for the Secretary of State to choose the winner: dice in a bottle. Digregorio ended up winning the primary based on little more than a coin toss.
Bills pass, fail based on one vote
If those examples don’t convince you your vote matters, consider the power one vote carries through to the state Legislature.
In 2022 the New Hampshire House and Senate fiercely debated whether they should revise the newly passed ban on abortion after 24 weeks gestation. HB 1609 was introduced to add exceptions for rape, incest, and fatal fetal anomalies. At first the bill was tabled by just one vote, delaying debate. The bill was removed from the table by three votes, then passed the House by just five. HB 1609 was later amended to only add exceptions to the abortion ban for fatal fetal anomalies; this amendment increased support among Republicans and helped the bill pass the Senate with a larger margin.
All told in 2022 there were seven votes in the New Hampshire House and Senate decided by just one legislator.
Don’t guess on your ballot
Given the power of each vote, Granite Staters should seriously vet who they vote for. As Citizens Count staff wrote in an article earlier this year, there are self-proclaimed anarchists, secessionists, pacifists, socialists, scientists, massage therapists, chicken farmers, hometown heroes, and recent arrestees all on the ballot this year.
Don’t read too much into the (D) or (R) next to a candidate’s name, either. For example, according to Citizens Count’s candidate surveys and research, nineteen Republicans support increasing the minimum wage, nine Democrats oppose stricter gun control, and at least one Republican is open to a sales tax. Issue positions are even more diverse and complex on issues related to zoning, marijuana, and renewable energy.
If you want an easy way to research the candidates on your ballot this November, visit citizenscount.org/elections and select your town from the dropdown menu. You can also find information about the ballot questions, debate replays, and other voter information on the website.
Citizens Count is a nonprofit dedicated to providing unbiased information about New Hampshire issues and candidates—including detailed profiles for every candidate for state House, Senate, Executive Council, and U.S. Congress this election year. They endorse no candidates. If you would like to support Citizens Count’s nonpartisan, nonprofit mission, consider donating during their New Hampshire Democracy First challenge: throughout the month of October, every donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $100,000.
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