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Ballot access requirements for political candidates in New Hampshire

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This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of New Hampshire. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in New Hampshire. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific dates

2015

See also: New Hampshire elections, 2015

There are no regularly scheduled state executive, state legislative or congressional elections in New Hampshire in 2015.

2014


Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of February 2015, there were two recognized political parties in New Hampshire. These are listed in the table below.[1][2]

Party Website link By-laws/platform link
Democratic Official party website Party platform
Republican Official party website Party platform

In some states, a candidate may choose to have a label other than that of an officially recognized party appear alongside his or her name on the ballot. Such labels are called political party designations. A political party designation would be used when a candidate qualifies as an independent, but prefers to use a different label. New Hampshire does allow candidates to identify in this way. A total of 25 states allow candidates to use political party designations in non-presidential elections.

The 11 states listed below (and Washington, D.C.) do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, in these states, an aspirant party must first field candidates using party designations. If the candidate or candidates win the requisite votes, the organization may then be recognized as an official political party. In these states, a political party can be formed only if the candidate in the general election obtains a specific number of votes. The number of votes required and type of race vary from state to state. Details can be found on the state-specific requirements pages.[3]

Process to establish a political party

Figure 1: This is a political organization declaration of intent form for the state of New Hampshire.

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: New Hampshire Revised Statutes, Title LXIII, Section 652:11; New Hampshire Revised Statutes, Title LXIII, Section 655:40-a

Recognition requirements

In New Hampshire, a recognized political party is defined as any political organization that, at the last state general election, yielded at least four percent of the total number of votes cast for either governor or United States Senator. In 2012, for example, a total of 693,877 were cast for governor, meaning that a political organization would have to win at least 27,756 votes in order to be recognized by the state as a political party.[4][5]

Any political organization may petition to have its name printed on the general election ballot. Petition papers must include the name of the political organization and must be signed by individuals who are registered to vote at the general election. No one can sign more than one nomination paper that grants a political organization access to the state's general election ballot. The organization must collect valid signatures equal to at least three percent of the total votes cast at the previous state general election. In 2014, for example, a political organization needed to submit 27,179 valid signatures in order to qualify for placement on the general election ballot.[6][7][8]

The chairman of the political organization must file a declaration of intent within the filing period (i.e., between the first Wednesday in June and the Friday of the following week). Petition papers must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday one week before the primary election.[9][10]

Selecting candidates

Recognized political parties are required to nominate their candidates by primary elections. The chairman of a political organization must, at the time a declaration of intent is filed, submit a list of the offices for which the organization intends to field candidates and the names of the candidates for those offices. Each candidate must also file a declaration of candidacy. In the event that the organization does not qualify to have its name printed on the general election ballot, any accompanying declarations of candidacy will be deemed void.[11][12]

Procedural requirements

No earlier than the third Tuesday of September following a primary election and no later than the last Tuesday of October, the following party officials, nominees and incumbents (if applicable) must hold a state convention for the purpose of adopting a party platform, nominating presidential electors, and establishing a party organization for the succeeding two-year period:

  • Chairman of the party's state committee
  • The party's nominees for governor, the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, the state legislature, executive councilors, county officers, and state delegates
  • If applicable, the party's incumbent United States Senators and incumbent county commissioners serving four-year terms, whose term or terms will not expire during the January following the general election[13]

The chairman and clerk of the convention must submit a certified list of the presidential electors nominated by the convention to the secretary of state.[13]

Notwithstanding the provisions noted above, a party may provide for an alternative method for determining the date, call or purpose of the state convention and the selection of delegates and the composition thereof, in accordance with the party's constitution or bylaws.[13]

Maintaining party status

In order for a political party to maintain recognized status, it must have yielded at least four percent of the total vote cast for either governor or United States Senator at the last state general election. The table below provides examples of required vote totals based upon 2012 and 2010 election returns.[4][5][14]

Examples of votes needed to maintain party status
Office Year Total votes cast Votes required to maintain party recognition
Governor 2012 693,877 27,756
United States Senator 2010 455,149 18,205

Events

On April 17, 2014, the New Hampshire State Senate defeated HB 1322, a bill that would have lowered the number of votes required for a political party to retain qualified status from 4 percent of the total vote cast for governor or United States Senator to 3 percent of the total vote cast for those offices. On the same day, the state legislature passed HB 1542. Introduced at the request of Secretary of State William Gardner, the bill stipulates that nomination papers for the establishment of a political organization must be signed and dated in the year of the election for which the organization seeks ballot access. According to Ballot Access News, similar provisions have been deemed unconstitutional by federal courts in Rhode Island and Arkansas.[15][16]

Process to become a candidate

Figure 2: This is a primary petition form for the state of New Hampshire.

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: New Hampshire Revised Statutes, Chapter 655: Nominations

For party candidates

A recognized political party candidate seeking placement on the primary election ballot must file a Declaration of Candidacy. On this declaration, the candidate must affirm that he or she is both a registered voter and a registered member of the party whose nomination he or she is pursuing.[17]

In addition to filing the Declaration of Candidacy, the candidate must do one of the following:[8]

1.) Pay an administrative assessment fee. Fees are established by statute and vary according to the office sought.[8][18]

Administrative assessment fees
Office Fee
Governor, United States Senator $100
United States Representative $50
Executive Councilor $25
State Senator $10
State Representative $2

2.) File primary petitions. The number of required petition papers (each of which contains one signature) is established by statute and varies according to the office sought.[8][18]

Primary petitions
Office Number of petitions
Governor, United States Senator 200
United States Representative 100
Executive Councilor 50
State Senator 20
State Representative 5

A written "assent to candidacy" must accompany the submitted primary petitions.[8][19]

A candidate for state-level office must also file a Financial Disclosure Form.[20]

Filing paperwork for most offices is submitted to the New Hampshire Secretary of State. Filing paperwork for state house candidates is submitted to the town or city clerk of the municipality where the candidate resides. Filings must be made between the first Wednesday in June and the Friday of the following week.[8][21]

For nonparty candidates

A candidate seeking placement on the general election ballot must file a Declaration of Intent. The Declaration of Intent must be filed between the first Wednesday in June and the Friday of the following week.[22][23]

In addition to filing this declaration, the candidate must do one of the following:[8]

1.) Pay an administrative assessment fee. Fees are established by statute and vary according to the office sought.[8]

Administrative assessment fees
Office Fee
Governor, United States Senator $100
United States Representative $50
Executive Councilor $25
State Senator $10
State Representative $2

2.) File nomination papers. Nomination papers must include the name and residence of the candidate, the office being sought, and the political organization or principles the candidate represents. The number of required nomination papers (each of which contains one signature) is established by statute and varies according to the office sought.[8][7]

Nomination papers
Office Number of papers
Governor, United States Senator 3,000**
United States Representative 1,500
Executive Councilor 750
State Senator 750
State Representative 150
** Of the 3,000 required signatures/papers, 1,500 must be collected from each of the state's two congressional districts.

A candidate for state-level office must also file a Financial Disclosure Form.[20]

Prior to final filing, nomination papers must be submitted for certification to the Supervisors of the Checklist in each town or city where signatures were collected. Nomination papers must be submitted for certification by 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday five weeks before the primary. Nomination papers are ultimately due to the New Hampshire Secretary of State by 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday before the primary.[8]

For write-in candidates

A write-in candidate does not need to file any special forms in order to have his or her votes tallied. In the event that a write-in candidate wins the nomination of a party at a primary election, he or she is required to file a Declaration of Candidacy with the New Hampshire Secretary of State no later than the first Monday following the primary election. Also, a write-in candidate must have received at least 35 votes in order to be considered the winner of a primary election.[24]

Events

2015

On February 11, 2015, HB 665 was introduced in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Had it been enacted, the bill would have lowered nomination paper signature requirements as follows:[25]

  • Candidates for governor or United States Senator would have been required to submit signatures equaling one-tenth of 1 percent of the total population of each of the state's two congressional districts.
  • Candidates for United States Representative, state senator or state representative would have been required to submit signatures equaling one-tenth of 1 percent of the total population of the applicable electoral district.

On March 4, 2015, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 56 to 286 against the bill.[26]

Petition requirements

In some cases, political parties and/or candidates may need to obtain signatures via the petition process to gain access to the ballot. This section outlines the laws and regulations pertaining to petitions and circulators in New Hampshire.

Format requirements

The Secretary of State is required by statute to prepare and provide all necessary filing forms, including primary petitions and nomination papers.[27]

Signature requirements

Individuals who sign primary petitions must be:[28]

  • Qualified to vote for a candidate for the office specified
  • Registered members of the party whose nomination the candidate seeks

Individuals who sign nomination papers must be registered voters. Nomination papers must be dated in the year of the election.[29] Likewise, petitions for the establishment of a political organization must be signed and dated in the year of the election for which the organization is seeking ballot access.[16]

Individuals who sign papers for the nomination of a political organization must be registered voters. No one may sign more than one such petition.[30]

The relevant statutes do not specify particular requirements that petition circulators must meet (such as residency or pay status).

Objections

Objections may be made to nomination papers by the Monday following the deadline to file papers. Objections must be made in writing. The relevant statutes do not specify an objections procedure for primary petitions.[31]

Campaign finance

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: New Hampshire Revised Statutes, Chapter 664: Political Expenditures and Contributions

Organizational requirements

Any individual who has publicly declared himself or herself a candidate and who seeks votes in an election is legally considered a candidate. At the time a candidate files for office, he or she must designate a person to act as his or her fiscal agent for the primary and/or general election campaign. A candidate may serve as his or her own fiscal agent. The fiscal agent, along with the candidate, must file all required financial disclosure statements.[32]

Any committee organized to support a candidate in any election must be authorized in writing by the candidate or his or her fiscal agent before accepting contributions or making expenditures. The committee must register with New Hampshire Secretary of State no later than 24 hours after first receiving any contribution in excess of $500 or before making any expenditure greater than $500. The committee must register no later than 14 days after the formation of the committee. The committee must designate a treasurer, who must be a legal resident of the state. A committee's registration is valid from the date of registration until 10 days after the primary or general election, whichever is appropriate (the committee may be terminated sooner than this, but such terminations must be made in writing by the chairman or treasurer of the committee).[33]

Reporting requirements

Candidates and candidate committees whose receipts or expenditures exceed $500 are required to file a number of regular disclosure statements with the New Hampshire Secretary of State. Generally, each statement requires the following types of information:[34][35]

  • Receipts
    • This includes an itemized listing of each receipt exceeding $25, including the full name and home address of the contributor, the amount of the contribution, date of receipt, and the aggregate total for each election for each contributor of over $100.
    • This includes an unitemized listing of all receipts of $25 or less.
      • For any contributor whose aggregate contributions for each election exceed $100, the contributor's occupation, official job title, employer, and principal place of business must be included.
  • Expenditures
    • This includes itemized listing of each expenditure, including the name and city or town of the payee, the date paid, and the election for which the expenditure was made, including the specific nature and amount of each expenditure.

Reports may be filed electronically through the New Hampshire Campaign Finance System.[36]

The statutory reporting schedule for candidates and candidate committees is detailed in the table below (these reports are due for both the primary and general election cycle).[35]

Campaign finance reporting schedule
Due date Reporting period
Wednesday 12 weeks prior to the election Committee registration or candidate filing through Monday before the statement is due
Wednesday 3 weeks prior to the election Cutoff date for the prior statement through Monday before the statement is due
Wednesday immediately prior to the election Cutoff date for the prior statement through Monday before the statement is due

If a candidate or committee has any outstanding debt, obligation, or surplus following an election, it must continue to file reports every six months until the obligation is satisfied or the surplus is eliminated.

Contribution limits

For each election cycle, an individual cannot contribute more than $5,000 to a candidate or committee. This limit is lowered to $1,000 for a candidate or committee that does not voluntarily agree to limit campaign expenditures.[37]


Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office may require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

  • Secretary of State
Why: This agency provides and processes candidate filing paperwork for statewide offices.
State House, Room 204
107 North Main Street
Concord, N.H. 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3242
Fax: 603-271-6316
Email: elections@sos.state.nh.us
http://www.sos.nh.gov

Municipal offices

See also: Cities in New Hampshire

A candidate must file a number of documents with his or her home city or town elections office. Contact information for individual municipal elections offices can be found below. If a particular piece of information is not provided, it is because it could not be found for this municipality. To provide a link or information for the table below, please email us.

Term limits

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

New Hampshire does not place term limits on state executive offices.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

New Hampshire does not place term limits on state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

Portal:Congress
See also: List of United States Representatives from New Hampshire and List of United States Senators from New Hampshire

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from New Hampshire:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from New Hampshire
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 1 1 2
     Republican Party 1 1 2
TOTALS as of March 2015 2 2 4

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of New Hampshire:

Senate

Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 10
     Republican Party 14
Total 24

House

Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 160
     Republican Party 237
     Independent 1
     Vacancy 2
Total 400

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "New + Hampshire + ballot + access"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

New Hampshire ballot access news feed

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See also

External links

Official state and federal links

Forms

Other information

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Phone call with the office of the New Hampshire Secretary of State on September 12, 2013.
  2. New Hampshire Secretary of State, "Party Registration/Names on Checklist History," accessed February 9, 2015
  3. E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 652:11," accessed March 24, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 New Hampshire Secretary of State, "Governor - 2012 General Election," accessed March 24, 2014
  6. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:40-a," accessed March 24, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:42," accessed March 24, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9 New Hampshire Secretary of State, "New Hampshire - Filing Period," accessed March 24, 2014
  9. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:43," accessed March 24, 2014
  10. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:14," accessed March 24, 2014
  11. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:14," accessed March 24, 2014
  12. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:17-c," accessed March 24, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 667:21," accessed March 24, 2014
  14. New Hampshire Secretary of State, "United States Senate - 2010 General Election," accessed March 24, 2014
  15. Ballot Access News, "New Hampshire Legislature Defeats Bill to Ease Ballot Access, and Instead Passes Bill Making It More Difficult," April 18, 2014
  16. 16.0 16.1 New Hampshire General Court, "HB 1542 - Version Adopted by Both Houses," accessed April 21, 2014
  17. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:17," accessed March 24, 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:19-c," accessed March 24, 2014
  19. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:25," accessed March 25, 2014
  20. 20.0 20.1 New Hampshire Secretary of State, "Election Forms," accessed March 24, 2014
  21. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:14," accessed March 24, 2014
  22. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:17-a," accessed March 24, 2014
  23. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:14-a," accessed March 24, 2014
  24. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 659:88," accessed March 24, 2014
  25. LegiScan, "Bill Text: NH HB665 | 2015 | Regular Session | Introduced," accessed February 18, 2015
  26. Ballot Access News, "New Hampshire Ballot Access Bill Loses on House Floor," March 5, 2015
  27. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:13," accessed March 24, 2014
  28. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:21," accessed March 24, 2014
  29. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:40," accessed March 24, 2014
  30. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:40-a," accessed March 24, 2014
  31. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 655:44," accessed March 24, 2014
  32. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 664:12," accessed March 24, 2014
  33. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 664:3," accessed March 24, 2014
  34. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 664:7," accessed March 24, 2014
  35. 35.0 35.1 New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 664:6," accessed March 24, 2014
  36. New Hampshire Campaign Finance System, "Home page," accessed March 24, 2014
  37. New Hampshire Revised Statutes, "Title LXIII, Section 664:4," accessed March 24, 2014