Many people, thousands actually, are voting absentee for the first time because of concern over exposure to Covid-19. If you used the latest application form from the Secretary of State, you could select the item “I am unable to vote in person due to concern for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).” However, when you receive your ballot, you are required to sign an affidavit printed on the outside of the envelope you will use to return your ballot. This affidavit requires you to certify the reason you are voting absentee. The options listed do not mention Covid-19. This rightfully concerns some voters. However, this is simply a failure of the Secretary of State to update the affidavit envelope. The Attorney General and Secretary of State early on indicated that concern over Covid-19 is included in the definition of “disability” for all elections in 2020. To alleviate the fears of voters, some town clerks are attaching a sticky note to this effect to the affidavit envelope before sending it with the absentee ballot to the voter. So if the reason you are voting absentee is Covid-19, sign either side of the affidavit since both sides refer to “disability” which includes Covid-19. Place your ballot in the signed affidavit envelope and place the affidavit envelope in the outer mailing envelope and place it in the mail or take it to your town or city clerk.
Unofficial Absentee Ballot Application Warning
Watch out for unsolicited Absentee Ballot Applications. The NH Republican Party has sent out unsolicited Absentee Ballot Applications in the last few weeks. The problem is they have gotten a lot of things wrong on the application which could cause unsuspecting voters to not have their vote counted. For more information on this topic, read what the NH Attorney General has found wrong with these unsolicited applications. NH AG Tells GOP Committee “Cease and Desist.” Anyone can ask their Town or City Clerk for an official Absentee Ballot Request Form or download one from the Secretary of State’s website.
Time is running out for voting absentee in the September 8 primary. If you are concerned that your absentee ballot will not be returned in time, you can take it yourself or have an immediate family member deliver it to the Town or City Clerk during their regular office hours before 5 p.m. on September 7. As I have noted before even though September 7 is a holiday, the Town and City Clerks in NH will be in their offices from 3 to 5 p.m. on September 7 to receive absentee ballots. If all else fails, you can still vote in person on September 8.