Snow Worries: Elections Will Go on As Planned in NH
For the second year in a row, a large winter storm is causing chaos with New Hampshire's annual Town Meeting on Tuesday.
On Monday, the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office sent a reminder that "New Hampshire law does not contain a provision that authorizes any public official to postpone an election."
Last year, nearly 80 towns rescheduled elections after a storm dumped more than a foot of snow. Although towns are required under state law to hold annual elections on the second Tuesday in March, many relied on another law allowing town moderators to move the "voting day of a meeting" in the event of a weather emergency.
READ: Sununu 'strongly' recommends elections be held despite snowstorm as growing list of towns postpone
The problems prompted a commission to discuss the issue and on March 10, the Senate passed SB34, which would allow town moderators to "postpone a meeting in the event of a weather emergency."
This year, another foot of snow is in the forcast for much of New Hampshire.
Several communities have already canceled services like trash collection and issued parking bans, and some like Pelham and Durham decided to close town offices for Tuesday for the nor'easter. But towns have made it clear voting is still on.
"There is nothing in the law that allows anyone to postpone the election because the law is specific, it's gotta be that day," New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I can't do it for state elections. No one can do it."
Judy Silva, executive director of the New Hampshire Municipal Association, said a few towns were considering postponing their elections but most planned to heed the message from the state. Some were scrambling to find enough poll workers, however."Everybody's in a bit of a stew," she said. "They are all feeling like they have to go ahead, and they are worried."
Although they cannot hold off on elections, town moderators are allowed to postpone deliberative sessions and business meetings for a weather emergency.
Anyone with questions or who experiences a problem while trying to vote Tuesday can call the Attorney General's Election Day Hotline at (866) 868-3703.
Material from The Associated Press contributed to this story.