New Hampshire has allowed absentee voting since at least 1925 (see Laws 1925, ch. 20, below). There are also federal laws that apply to methods of casting a ballot. Absentee voting occurs when a person who, because of an absence from their usual voting district, illness, or the like, is permitted to vote by mail. The majority of states permit voters to cast ballots before Election Day, either in person at designated early voting sites, or via a ballot that has been mailed to the voter’s home. The name of the process varies from state to state. States refer to “advance ballots,” “mailed ballots,” “by-mail ballots,” “mail ballots” or “vote-by-mail ballots.” The rules and procedures also vary by state.
Traditionally, voting absentee in New Hampshire has been limited to a small subset of people (listed in RSA 657:1) who are unable to vote in person on election day at the place where they are registered. This applies to all New Hampshire elections, including state, town, village, and school district elections. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Hampshire Attorney General and Secretary of State provided guidance stating that any voter may vote absentee in the fall primary and general elections if the voter is concerned for their own or others’ safety because of COVID-19.
Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive.
It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use.
NH Law About ... is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.