On April 17, the New Hampshire Senate Election Law and Veterans Affairs Committee passed HB 521, a bill to “study all current New Hampshire election laws and procedures and review all options to increase participation and access to the ballot.” Unfortunately, the committee also amended the bill, at the request of the sponsor, to delete the subject of ballot access. The sponsor said the subject of ballot access is too complicated for a committee that will have few members and won’t have much time to make for its study.
New Hampshire badly needs ballot access reform. It is the only state in the east in which the Green Party has never been on the ballot for President, except in 2000. It is one of only three states which hasn’t had any ballot-qualified parties on the ballot, except for the Democratic and Republican Parties, at any time since November 1996 (the other two states are New Jersey and Pennsylvania). It is unfortunate that the study won’t deal with ballot access.