The 2014 New Hampshire legislative session now has two bills to improve ballot access. Recently three State House members introduced HB 1497, which changes the definition of “political party” from a group that polled 4% for either Governor or U.S. Senator in the last election, to one which polled 1% for either of those offices. The sponsors are Steven Smith (R-Charlestown), Tim O’Flaherty (D-Manchester), and Michael Sylvia (R-Belmont).
Other states with a vote test that is 1% (or a lesser percentage) are Colorado, Connecticut (although each office must qualify separately), Georgia (although the vote test is 1% of the number of registered voters and only applies to statewide office), Kansas, Maryland, Michigan (the vote test is 1% of the winning candidate’s vote), Nevada, New Mexico (one-half of 1%), New York (50,000 votes for Governor is approximately 1%), Oregon, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The other bill pending is HB 1322, which changes the vote test from 4% to 3%.
HB 1497 also lowers the number of signatures for candidates petitioning to gain a place on the general election ballot. The statewide petition would drop from 3,000 to 200, and the petition would not be mandatory, but only be needed for candidates who did not pay a $100 filing fee. In New Hampshire, candidates seeking a place on a primary ballot need not petition if they pay a filing fee. Darryl Perry is the activist who is responsible for HB 1497 being introduced.