New Hampshire’s Primary voting day is Tuesday, September 11 and it is bound to be full of surprises and upsets. This election is where we decide state, county, and Congressional offices including State Senate, State House of Representatives, Executive Council, Governor, County Attorney, County Sheriff, County Treasurer, County Commissioner, Register of Deeds, Register of Probate, and U.S. Congressional seats. All of these positions are vital to the way we operate as a state and country. I hope to clarify what happens on Primary voting day and why this is so crucial to our democracy.
Although most Primary voting days do not have a great voter turnout, it is still important to go support the party of the candidates you think will best represent our state. When voting on September 11, you will have to decide more than just the people you want to vote for; if you are not already registered to vote, you’ll also have to choose a party. Those people who are registered “undeclared” will have to pick a political party in order to vote in the primary, and then decide if they wish to stay registered with that party, or go back to being registered undeclared.
Make sure that if you would like to remain undeclared, that you fill out the proper form before completing the voting process. For those of you who are already registered with a party, you will have to vote in the Primary as a member of that party, but you may choose to re-register undeclared after the election. This is the only part of the whole voting process where you will have to select a party because, in the general election, all parties are listed.
Aside from the actual action of voting, it is important to know a few other key things when going to the polls next week. The first thing is something you will notice when walking up to your polling location: all of the people holding political signs. The group holding signs can be quite large depending on the amount of people designated to vote at your location and the amount of attention your region is getting overall. The group holding signs will also be in a certain area of the polling location that will be roped off for them and they have to follow specific rules, too.
One rule is that you have to be holding the signs in your hands and they cannot be propped up against anything. If you are not holding the sign, it has to be laid on the ground inside the designated area. These rules seem very specific – and they are – for many reasons, including to make sure volunteers are treated equally.
The polling locations moderator frequently checks in with the volunteers to make sure everyone is playing nice and to update them on the voter turnout numbers. You will also notice that no one inside of the polling location will have any political attire on, since in New Hampshire it is against the law. If you do try to wear a pin, sticker, shirt, or whatever political gear you have for your candidate, you will be asked to remove it.
This whole process may seem a little overwhelming for the first-time voter, but it is important to know there are plenty of people at the polls who will help you navigate through it all. We are very lucky that our state allows people to register to vote the same day as the election. With the proper identification and basic personal information it takes only a few minutes to register as a voter and actually vote on the same day.
New Hampshire takes an immense amount of pride in our voting process and we need to take full advantage each election. Voting is our civic duty as an American citizen and we all need to respect that right. Political affiliation does not matter when it comes to exercising your right to vote.
Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Socialist, Green Party, etc., make sure you get to the polls on Tuesday, September 11th to vote.
For polling locations, sample ballots, voter registration, and other election information visit the City website
Thanks for reading and until next week, live and be happy!
Ben Dion hosts The Weekly Dion live Thursdays at 6 p.m. on 95.3 FM WMNH, Manchester’s only downtown radio station. Follow him on Twitter @BenDionNH and @TheWeeklyDion. Contact Ben at email@example.com
(picture taken by me)