Can you vote in NH? What students need to know before the election

David Micali , Senior Correspondent

Across the partisan divide, both Democrats and Republicans are stressing the importance of voting in the upcoming presidential election this November. 

The Saint Anselm Crier is here to answer student’s commonly held questions about if and how they can have their voices heard.

I am not a New Hampshire resident, but I live on campus. Can I vote in New Hampshire? 

In order to vote in New Hampshire, you need to be “18 years of age or older on election day,” “a United States citizen”, and “domiciled in the town or ward where the person seeks to vote.” Domicile is “one place where a person, more than any other place, has established a physical presence and manifests an intent to maintain a single continuous presence.” This means that if you are not a New Hampshire resident, but you go to school in New Hampshire and live on campus, you can vote in New Hampshire as long as you are 18 years old or older on election day and a US citizen. To quote New Hampshire law “a student of any institution of learning may lawfully claim domicile for voting purposes in the New Hampshire town or city in which he or she lives while attending such institution.” However, you can only claim domicile in one state. Therefore, if you are from Massachusetts but live on campus, you must choose whether you want to vote in New Hampshire or Massachusetts. You cannot vote in both states.

I am a New Hampshire resident. How can I vote?

If you are registered to vote, you can vote by either going to your hometown and voting there or by requesting an absentee ballot and having it mailed to Saint Anselm. 

So, I can vote in New Hampshire. How do I register to vote?

You can register to vote by visiting your town clerk’s office. For New Hampshire residents, that means your hometown. For people who come from a different state but want to vote here, that means the Goffstown Town Clerk’s office, located at 16 Main Street. At the town clerk’s office, you must be able to prove your identity, age, citizenship, and domicile. To prove your identity and age, a driver’s license from any state or a non-driver ID is acceptable. To prove citizenship, use your birth certificate, passport, or naturalization document. To prove domicile at Saint Anselm College, bring a document from the college showing that you live in campus housing or “a note signed by a school official, including a Resident Assistant or other person with supervisory responsibility for your dorm.” Alternatively, you can request for the proper paperwork to be mailed to you from the NH Secretary of State’s office.

New Hampshire poll workers tallying the results from the Feb. 2020 New Hampshire Presidential Primary. (Politico)

I registered to vote. How can I request an absentee (mail-in) ballot?

You are going to want to go to https://sos.nh.gov/elections/voters/absentee-ballots/request-an-absentee-ballot/ and click the link that says “Application for Absentee Ballots – 2020 Elections.” This will give you a pdf; print that out. For part I, check “I am a duly qualified voter who is currently registered to vote in this town or ward.” For part II, check “I am unable to vote in person due to concern for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).” For part III, check the box for the general election on November 3. On the back, put 100 Saint Anselm Drive as your domicile address. Finally, mail the application to the Goffstown Town Clerk office at 16 Main Street, Goffstown, NH, 03045. Congratulations! Assuming you filled everything out correctly, you should receive your absentee ballot in the mail. 

What if I want to vote in-person?

Considering the restrictions that the school has placed on outside travel and the risk of infecting the whole campus, it would probably be best if you just vote by mail.

But I am worried that if I vote by mail, my vote will not be counted.

In that case, you can always request an absentee ballot, fill it out, and then drive it to the Goffstown Town Clerk’s office at 16 Main Street, handing it to them directly. 

I have my ballot: how do I vote?

Fill in the bubbles with the little pencil that came with the ballot. Once you have filled out the ballot (make sure you check both sides, you never know) there should be an envelope inside the big envelope where everything came in. Put your ballot in it, seal that envelope, and bring it to the mail center. Remember to only vote for the number of candidates that it allows you to. If it says “President, vote for not more than one,” and you vote for Joe Biden and Donald Trump, your vote will not be counted. To write in a candidate, write their name on the “write-in” line and then fill in the bubble. If you write in the candidate’s name but do not fill in the bubble, then you have not voted for anyone. 

Who should I vote for?

We here at The Saint Anselm Crier cannot answer that question. It is up to you to research both candidates and choose who you believe is best suited to improve your life and solve the issues plaguing this country. It may seem like a daunting task, but it is your civic duty as an American.