New Hampshire Senate votes to protect presidential primary

Mar 30, 2023, 2:23 PM

FILE - Bill Hurley, of Chesterfield, N.H., fills out his ballot at the Chesterfield, N.H., polling ...

FILE - Bill Hurley, of Chesterfield, N.H., fills out his ballot at the Chesterfield, N.H., polling site during the New Hampshire state primary elections, Sept. 8, 2020. New Hampshire’s prominent place in the presidential nominating calendar would be enshrined in the state’s Constitution under a belt-and-suspenders measure that won unanimous support Thursday, March 30, 2023, in the state Senate. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP, File)

(Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP, File)

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s prominent place in the presidential nominating calendar would be enshrined in the state’s constitution under a measure that won unanimous support Thursday in the state Senate.

If 60% of the House agrees, voters would be asked in November 2024 whether to add language to the constitution mirroring an existing state law that requires the primary to be held at least seven days before any similar contest. It was one of two bills passed by the Senate as a rebuke to the Democratic National Committee, which last month approved replacing the Iowa caucus with the South Carolina primary in the leadoff position in 2024 and having New Hampshire share the second slot with Nevada.

The shakeup, championed by President Joe Biden as a way to empower minority voters, has faced major pushback in New Hampshire from Republicans and Democrats alike.

“To think that any political party is going to lean on the elected officials in this state to give up our tradition, that is not going to happen,” said Sen. Daryl Abbas, a Republican from Salem.

“We should be united on this because our elections are done the right way.”

Sen. Rebecca Perkins-Kwoka, a Democrat from Portsmouth, agreed.

“The cornerstone of the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire is our high engagement of the populace in the process,” she said. “What better way to reinforce that engagement than to ask the voters to decide whether our status of going first should be placed in our constitution?”

The second bill, which passed 13-10 along party lines, is aimed at the fallout New Hampshire could face if it ignores the DNC rules. It would require New Hampshire delegates to national conventions to be seated with complete voting rights. The penalties for states that move up without permission haven’t been settled, but could include losing delegates.

All 10 Democrats voted against the bill, arguing that lawmakers shouldn’t meddle in how parties select and seat delegates. The Republican National Committee penalized New Hampshire in 2008 and 2012 for holding the primary earlier than Feb. 1, but no one sought to pass such legislation then, said Sen. Donna Soucy, a Democrat from Manchester.

“Not only is this premature, it’s unprecedented,” she said. “We should be in unison about the primary, and we should let this other problem play itself out.”

Republicans argued that not seating all delegates disenfranchises voters. Sen. Sharon Carson of Londonderry said she agreed that lawmakers should be united in protecting the primary itself but shouldn’t stop there.

“I think my Republican colleagues want to take that a step further, and they want to protect our Democratic colleagues in this process,” she said.

National News

Associated Press

Houseboats catch fire at popular destination Lake Powell on Utah-Arizona line

More than half a dozen house boats momentarily caught fire at a popular boating destination on the Utah-Arizona line on Friday, igniting while tourists and jet skiers stood by before the flames were extinguished. The decks of boats docked at Wahweap Marina on Lake Powell smoldered as black plumes of smoke wafted into the air […]

19 hours ago

Associated Press

Hawaii allows more concealed carry after Supreme Court ruling, but tightly limits where guns allowed

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. Josh Green on Friday signed legislation that will allow more people to carry concealed firearms but at the same time prohibit people from taking guns to a wide range of places, including beaches, hospitals, stadiums, bars that serve alcohol and movie theaters. Private businesses allowing guns will have to post […]

19 hours ago

Associated Press

Even Nebraska’s nonpartisan Legislature is divided from acrimonious 2023 session

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Legislature has long prided itself on being a paragon of collegiality and function, as the only single-chamber, nonpartisan Legislature in the country. But after a vicious 2023 session in which the body of 49 lawmakers remained irreconcilably split, Nebraska’s statehouse is beginning to reflect broad, national discord. The acrimony […]

19 hours ago

FILE - A person removes snow from the front of his driveway a few days after a winter storm rolled ...

Associated Press

Report: Buffalo’s snow-removal equipment, communications fell short during deadly blizzard

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo’s snow-removal fleet was no match for the historic Christmas week blizzard that left 31 people dead in the city, and officials fell short in issuing warnings and providing shelter, according to a report released Friday. The 175-page review of the city’s response by New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of […]

19 hours ago

FILE - A black bear that had been previously tranquilized and removed from a Waterbury, Conn., neig...

Associated Press

Connecticut lawmakers vote to allow people to use deadly force as the bear population grows

Connecticut lawmakers voted Friday to take steps to protect people from the state’s growing bear population. But they stopped far short of a bear hunt and restrictions on people unintentionally feeding the hungry animals. The legislation, which cleared the House of Representatives on a 115-32 vote after being revamped by the Senate, instead explicitly allows […]

19 hours ago

FILE - Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. appears in court, Jan. 22, 2020, in New York. Three women who claim C...

Associated Press

3 women who say Cuba Gooding Jr. sexually abused them can testify at sex assault trial, judge rules

NEW YORK (AP) — Three women who claim Cuba Gooding Jr. sexually abused them — including one upset she never got her day in court when Gooding resolved criminal charges without trial or jail — can testify at a federal civil trial next week to support a woman’s claim that the actor raped her in […]

19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

New Hampshire Senate votes to protect presidential primary