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All or nothing: Don't kill snow day bill

May 20. 2018 10:29PM

The most important goal of a bill clarifying procedures to delay local elections in the event of weather emergencies is that everyone know the rules ahead of time.

Had House and Senate negotiators agreed to give town moderators authority to postpone voting in their towns, we would have objected, but at least local officials would be able to comply with the law.

Instead, the conference committee on Senate Bill 438 wants to give that power to the secretary of state, who oversees all elections in New Hampshire. The secretary could postpone voting upon the request of a town moderator, or statewide if the governor declares a state of emergency.

Existing law provides no provision to postpone a vote, prompting Secretary of State Bill Gardner to declare “We don’t have snow days in the law for elections,” when 80 towns rescheduled local elections in 2017.

SB 438 would put snow days in the law for elections.

The New Hampshire Municipal Association says the House should kill SB 438 entirely.

This would be spiteful, and leave towns with no way to reschedule official ballot voting during a severe snowstorm.

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