The Union-Leader, New Hampshire’s biggest newspaper, has this story about the legislative hearing held on February 11 for HB 521, a bill to appoint a committee to study how to improve New Hampshire election laws. The main part of the story focuses on the testimony of Secretary of State Bill Gardner in opposition to early voting. But the last part of the story covers the testimony of Darryl Perry, who testified in favor of the bill and who urged that if the bill passes, ballot access be included in the study.
New Hampshire is one of only three states that has not had a ballot-qualified party for any type of office, other than the Democratic and Republican Parties, during the period since November 1996. It is one of a handful of states that has registration by party, yet which won’t tally the number of registered voters in any unqualified party. It is one of only four states that won’t permit an unqualified party to use a stand-in presidential candidate on its petition (this point excludes states in which there would be no advantage for substitution because the party petition is just as easy as the candidate petition, or because the candidate petition is so late). It is one of only three states that has a party column ballot and won’t necessarily give unqualified parties their own party column. And every attempt by activists in the past fifteen years to ameliorate these problems has been defeated in the legislature.