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N.H. primary voters can grasp challenges of a diverse electorate

With nearly 20 candidates in the Democratic presidential primary, New Hampshire’s role in selecting a front-runner has never been more important. Yet Ben Jackson’s Oct. 7 op-ed alleging white privilege would have you believe that it’s time to end our early small-state primaries in favor of a single national primary (“The Democratic primaries and the white privilege of Iowa and N.H.”).

Granted, New Hampshire is a small state with minimal diversity, but that does not mean that its voters are small-minded or uninformed about the challenges that face diverse voters. In fact, more than 60 percent of New Hampshire residents were born in other states, many have higher-education credentials, and statewide we demonstrate a record of voter involvement greater than the national average. In 2012 we voted for Barack Obama over neighbor Mitt Romney, and we have consistently voted for candidates of diverse backgrounds who connect with the voters.

In a national primary or a larger state, candidates can rely upon large-dollar advertising purchases to reach voters. Jackson’s argument that candidates now have “instant access to the entire electorate through myriad traditional and emerging channels” has only made New Hampshire’s personal style of candidate review more critical. Big money and big bluffs do not win the hearts of our state’s voters so much as sincerity, solid credentials, high ideals, and clear leadership abilities. You might be able to fake it when you look into the eye of a camera or have a great ad campaign, but it’s harder to fake it when you look into the eye of an individual voter.

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A national primary would be a national mistake.

Sylvia B. Larsen

Concord, N.H.

The writer is a former New Hampshire Senate president.

N.H., Iowa enjoy too much influence on our national elections

I agree with Ben Jackson’s op-ed regarding New Hampshire and Iowa having voting power that can negate my vote here in Massachusetts.

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We as a nation all vote together, and yet these two early primary states have the power to persuade with the outcome of their results. We should all be voting in a single national primary. As it is, the Electoral College diminishes my vote, as we saw in the last election.

Let us hope others agree and this process may be changed.

Louise McRae

Amesbury