Neither snow nor wind will keep officials from opening the polls in New Hampshire on Tuesday. Regardless of the weather, the elections will go on.
Whether many voters will turn out is another question.
The National Weather Service is predicting heavy snow in the Granite state, with accumulations of 10 to 14 inches and localized amounts of up to 18 inches.
On Monday New Hampshire Secretary of State William M. Gardner and Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald issued a statement Monday reminding everyone that the town elections scheduled for Tuesday would happen as scheduled in the New Hampshire, regardless of the looming snowstorm.
“New Hampshire law does not contain a provision that authorizes any public official to postpone an election....For most towns, tomorrow is the town election day and, therefore, cannot be postponed,” the statement read.
New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Matthew T. Broadhead said voters in more than 100 towns are slated to hit the polls Tuesday. “This is a bit of deja vu,” said Broadhead, referring to the snowy weather that coincided with last year’s local elections.
Patti Barry, the town clerk for Hudson, N.H., confirmed that Hudson will be holding its town and school elections as scheduled.
“We’re expecting a lower turnout tomorrow,” she said.
Absentee ballots are available Monday until 5 p.m. but only to citizens who meet one of the following criteria: they will be out of town on Election Day; they are unable to vote in person due to a disability; they can’t appear in public on Election Day because of observance of a religious commitment; or they’re unable to vote during polling hours because of employment obligations.
Under state law, inclement weather is not a valid excuse.
“They can’t get an absentee ballot for snow,” Barry said.
Susan Wall, the town clerk for Salem, N.H., said several residents have inquired about getting absentee ballots in advance of the storm, and she had to break the news to most of them that they do not qualify.
“We’ve had quite a few people call,” she said.
Wall plans to be in bright and early Tuesday, before the polls open at 7 a.m.
Does she a lighter turnout than usual?
“Personally, I think so,” she said.Emily Sweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.