New Hampshire Representative Steven Smith (R-Charlestown) will introduce a bill to ease ballot access for independent candidates and minor parties. The legislature won’t be in session until 2014, but legislators can introduce bill drafts at any time, and Smith is submitting his proposal this week.
New Hampshire has not had a ballot-qualified party, other than the Democratic and Republican Parties, since November 1996. The only other states that have not had a ballot-qualified third party during the entire period since 1996 are New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Yet New Hammpshire holds itself out to the nation as a state that is one of the most civic-minded and democratic states in the nation, and then uses that assertion to bolster its claim to permanently have the nation’s earliest presidential primary. Thanks to Darryl Perry for the news about Representative Smith.