October 27, 2004

Understanding New Hampshire Elections: Structural

New Hampshire State House districts are often multi-member (MMD) so all you have to do is NOT lose. Some districts have only one elected Rep (SMD).

In Belknap County, the Reps with the fewest votes who still won were elected in 2002 with as few as 1769 votes and as many as 5076 votes.

In Carroll County, the Reps with the fewest votes who still won were elected with as few as 721 votes and as many as 4009 votes.

In Cheshire County, the Reps with the fewest votes who still won were elected with as few as 1573 votes and as many as 3175 votes.

In Coos County, the Reps with the fewest votes who still won were elected with as few as 1290 votes and as many as 2404 votes.

In Grafton County, the Reps with the fewest votes who still won were elected with as few as 1247 votes and as many as 4321 votes.

In Hillsborough County, the Reps with the fewest votes who still won were elected with as few as 780 votes and as many as 5399 votes.

In Merrimack County, the Reps with the fewest votes who still won were elected with as few as 1303 votes and as many as 3831 votes.

In Rockingham County, the Reps with the fewest votes who still won were elected with as few as 938 votes and as many as 6441 votes.

In Strafford County, the Reps with the fewest votes who still won were elected with as few 1268 as votes and as many as 5237 votes.

In Sullivan County, the Reps with the fewest votes who still won were elected with as few as 1132 votes and as many as 1485 votes.


So overall the minimum needed in the last election to win a seat was 721 votes. In the toughest race the last-place winner needed 6441 votes to take a seat. The way you do well is to get on the ticket. You can get on a ticket if you are written into another party's ballot line. In a party's primary, there are as many winners as there are seats in the district. If there are fewer people contesting the seat for the party than there are seats available, it's easy to get their primary endorsement. In such a case, you'd only need one primary voter's vote to get that line.

So if you ran as a Libertarian in a 6-seat constituency, and only 5 Republicans are running in the primary, you need only convince a few voters to vote you on their Republican primary ballot to be a nominee of the Republicans. If you get on, then in the general election you are a Libertarian-Republican. There are a lot of D-Rs and R-Ds and there's no reason there couldn't be L-Rs or L-Ds or L-R-Ds. If you are on the party's ticket, you get the best part - besides showing off your multipartisanship, you receive all of the straight-ticket votes. Anybody who votes straight-Republican automatically votes for all L-Rs and D-Rs. That's why it's valuable to do this.

Get enough straight-ticket votes, as well as enough community support, and you could win. That's one thing you have to do, though: make sure to compete in the other primaries by asking friends and neighbors in those parties to consider writing you in.

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