Last updated: Sep 25, 2020

New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s 2020 Elections in the Wake of COVID-19

Last updated: June 30, 2020

New Hampshire—known for its first in the nation primary—is also the smallest swing state and in 2016 hosted the country’s most closely contested national elections. While the state's primary voting processes were largely unaffected by the coronavirus, New Hampshire has since implemented major changes to upcoming 2020 voting processes, including an administrative move by the State Secretary of State and Attorney General to effectively permit no-excuse absentee voting during COVID-19—a particularly significant change considering the state’s historical reliance on in-person voting and same-day registration.

Latest Updates:

  • 9/13/20 - Poll Worker Recruitment: New Hampshire polling places have successfully turned to younger people to volunteer as poll workers, and reduced the average poll worker age from 72 to 28. Several wards in the state have successfully used social media to attract younger poll workers, which helped the September 8 primary run smoothly.

  • 9/10/20 - Primary Update: Although many poll workers had initially opted out due to the pandemic, several wards reported successful in-person voting for the Sept. 8 primary. This success can partly be attributed to new state guidance that allows residents to work in any ward in non-official positions, which made it easier to find new staff.

  • 9/9/20 - Primary Update: Of the 100,000 absentee ballots requested for the September 8 primary, 75,000 have already been returned as of Monday, September 7, according to state officials. Officials expect that 40% of ballots cast in the primary will be absentee, which is an eightfold increase in absentee voting, shattering the previous record hit in 2016.

  • 9/9/20 - Primary Update: On Election Day, most in-person voters wore masks. Voters who refused masks were accommodated in outdoor tents.

  • 9/1/20 - Accessible Voting: New Hampshire is launching a new absentee voting system allowing voters who are blind or have other print disabilities the opportunity to cast an absentee vote privately and independently. Voters can request an accessible absentee ballot electronically, fill it out on their own computer, and then return a physical copy of their completed absentee ballot.

  • 8/28/20 - Face Mask Protocol: The Town of Dublin, New Hampshire, has clarified its in-person voting protocol regarding face masks in advance of the September 8 primary election: Nobody will be turned away for not wearing a mask, but they will need to vote in an alternate location, such as outside the polling place in a tent or in the basement of the building.

State Resources: