On January 12, the New Hampshire House Election Law Committee will hold hearings on two bills to improve ballot access for minor parties. HB 1264 and HB 1188 are both on the agenda. HB 1264 would lower the petition to create a new qualified party from 3% of the last gubernatorial vote (over 20,000 signatures) to a flat 5,000 signatures. It would also lower the vote test from 4% of the last vote for either Governor or U.S. Senator, to 2%. However, parties polling at least 2%, but under 4%, would nominate by convention, not primary. Testimony about this bill starts at 2:30 p.m.
HB 1188 cuts the petition for a new ballot-qualified party from 3% of the last gubernatorial vote to 1.5% of that same base. Testimony about this bill starts at 1 p.m.
New Hampshire is the only state in New England with no ballot-qualified parties, other than the Democratic and Republican Parties. New Hampshire is also the only state in the nation that, in the last 15 years, has raised the vote test for a group to meet the definition of “party”. In 1997 it raised it from 3% to 4%. The median vote test in the 50 states is 2%. Thanks to Rich Tomasso for the news about the hearing date.