The Bulletin Board

New Hampshire lags behind its neighbors in democracy ranking

By: - November 4, 2022 11:00 am

(Screenshot: Movement Advancement Project,

New Hampshire ranks last among New England states for democracy-promoting state election laws and policies, according to an independent analysis.

The Movement Advancement Project, or MAP, is an independent, nonprofit think tank that analyzed election laws and policies of all 50 states and Washington, D.C., ranking the states into “high,” “medium,” “fair,” “low,” and “negative” categories.

New Hampshire got a “low” score, receiving 8 out of 33.5 possible points. Connecticut received a score of “fair,” while Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island all fell in the “medium” category.

The tallies were calculated based on 44 election laws, policies, and data points, including automatic voter registration, early in-person voting, state primary systems, voting machine security, and congressional redistricting. States were credited for positive policies and docked for policies that make elections more partisan or needlessly limit voting and civic engagement.

In the voter registration section, New Hampshire lost a point because of laws restricting voter registration drives. The state received no points for automatic voter registration and online voter registration. It got a quarter of a point for its voter preregistration policy: allowing individuals who will turn 18 by the next election to register without setting a specific age. And it got a full point for registration deadlines (there aren’t any; voters can register up until the election and same day registration is also available).

The state scored higher when it came to election security, receiving points for ballot tracking for mail voting and the security of voting machines, which use hand-marked paper ballots. It could have gained points for giving voters an opportunity to correct ballot or signature errors and requiring a post-election audit, among other policies.

Nationwide, only four states fell in MAP’s “high” category: Washington, Oregon, California, and Colorado.

The tool shows both a state-by-state comparison of overall rank and by individual policies.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee reported on energy and environment for New Hampshire Bulletin. She also previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.