News

New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights Launches Three-Pronged Platform to Innovate Voting in the First-In-The-Nation State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 16, 2015

CONTACT

Paula Hodges, America Votes-New Hampshire, (603) 361-2685 or phodges@americavotes.org

Joan Ashwell, League of Women Voters, (603) 397-8128 or jfashwell@comcast.net

NH CoalitionConcord, NH — New Hampshire advocacy groups and legislators announced a three pronged plan to strengthen integrity and build transparency into the voting process and improve access to the ballot box. The New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights currently includes America Votes-New Hampshire, Open Democracy, New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, League of Women Voters-New Hampshire, NextGen New Hampshire, New Hampshire Citizens Alliance, People for the American Way, NAACP New England Area Conference, Granite State Progress and Fair Elections Legal Network.

The campaign’s platform includes three state legislative bills being introduced in the 2016 session:

  1. Implementing a statewide online voter registration system in 2017;
  2. Ensuring every voter has the same opportunity to vote on Election Day by standardizing polling hours from 6AM until 8PM;
  3. Creating an innovation grant system administered by the New Hampshire Secretary of State to support towns and cities to ensure they have the supplies, voting equipment for voters with physical impairments, absentee ballot envelopes and technical support to implement streamlined polling place and registration processes.

Former New Hampshire Charitable Foundation President and Open Democracy Advisory Board Member Lew Feldstein noted, “As the First-in-the-Nation primary state, New Hampshire has a strong reputation for voter participation. Nonetheless we have seen just one in five eligible voters consistently cast ballots in local elections, as documented in the Open Democracy Index. This campaign believes New Hampshire can become a model for the nation to administer inclusive, transparent and high integrity elections. We believe voting must be equally accessible to all citizens regardless of their income, race, gender, age or zip code. We support a voting system that is accessible and consistent for all.”

Plymouth State student and native New Hampshire voter Craig Cavanaugh explained, “I register for school, pay my taxes, cell phone bill and credit cards online. It just makes sense that the state would find a way to update the voter rolls year round so that when I graduate and update my mailing address, I can also go online and update my voter registration.”

Durham Town Council member and State Representative Wayne Burton (Strafford 6) suggested that, “the biggest barrier to working people, who are often taking care of aging parents and helping their children at the same time, is finding the time to vote before or after work.” He continued, “It all boils down to accessibility. If we want to prioritize civic engagement, we must equalize the playing field and support towns like Durham to keep their polling places open and work to reduce long lines with advance online registration. Your voting experience shouldn’t depend on your zip code or ward.”

State Senator David Pierce (District 5) closed the press conference by noting, “Cities and towns are the incubators of democracy. New Hampshire has a unique system where we elect volunteer Supervisors of the Checklist, Moderators and Town Clerks who have so many other responsibilities on their plates. The state legislature and Secretary of State must work together to bring New Hampshire online and ensure our elections processes are accessible to everyone – including people with physical impairments.”

Twenty-three states currently use online voter registration. Five more states will implement it this year, bringing that number to 28 by 2017 – the year when the proposed New Hampshire online voter registration bill would be implemented if passed this legislative session. Furthermore, 38 states have standardized polling hours for statewide elections. New Hampshire is also the only New England state that does not ensure that voting equipment is made available for those with physical impairments for every election, including municipal elections.

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Look Down-Ballot: Strong Turnout on Nov. 3rd Delivered Key Progressive Wins in Battleground States

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Nov. 4, 2015

CONTACT 
Liz Accola Meunier, eaccola@americavotes.org, (202) 962-7254

Washington, DC – America Votes President Greg Speed released the following statement regarding the November 3rd state and local elections:

“The importance of state and local elections cannot be overstated. For the progressive community, last night saw many strategic victories in the states. While the media has focused on the Republican victory in deep-Red Kentucky, in America Votes states, there were a number of important progressive wins that mark the beginning of a multi-cycle road back to progressive power and reclaiming our democracy in the states. 

“From Pennsylvania, to Ohio, to Jefferson County, Colorado – America Votes worked closely with allies to increase turnout and land important wins for progressives and voters. In Pennsylvania, the America Votes coalition delivered strong statewide turnout to win a 5-2 progressive majority on the state Supreme Court – a crucial player in the redistricting process in a state with some of the most unfair, GOP gerrymandered maps in the country. In Ohio, America Votes led efforts among our partners and successfully won Issue 1 to reform the redistricting process and hopefully make new districts more reflective of Ohio’s electorate. And in a critical local election of national importance, local public school advocates, educators and allies in Jefferson County, Colorado, turned out in massive numbers to oust a Koch-backed school board.

“America Votes will continue to be the leader of the progressive community’s long-term strategy to rebuild progressive power in the states from the ground up in 2016 and beyond.”

The progressive victories where America Votes and our allies worked together were strong. In Pennsylvania, initial counts show the three Democratic Supreme Court candidates defeated GOP candidates by 17 points (57-40) – a decisive statewide victory in a perennial battleground state. In Ohio, Issue 1 won overwhelmingly with over 70% of the vote. And in Jefferson County, turnout surpassed 40%, far above typical turnout for local races, as voters overwhelmingly recalled conservative school board members in the second largest school district in the state by 26-28% margins. 

Progressives won numerous other races and ballot initiatives, such as the mayoral seat in Nashua, New Hampshire, where a Democrat was elected for the first time in over 20 years. In Las Cruces, New Mexico, progressives clinched city council seats and re-elected Democratic Mayor Ken Miyagishima to a rare third term, winning 52% of the vote despite oil and gas interests spending $80,000 against him. And in Maine, voters enacted Question 1, an important initiative that will restore the state’s clean elections post-Citizen’s United. 

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America Votes is the coordination hub of the progressive community. We lead collaborative efforts among a diverse coalition of over 400 state and national partner organizations to advance progressive policies, win elections, and protect every American’s right to vote. Our organization works nationally and in more than 20 states to provide a range of services to our partners, including strategic planning, advocacy and electoral campaign coordination, data tools and targeting services, and on-the-ground leadership in key states. For more information about America Votes, visit our website at www.americavotes.org.

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