Ballot Access Fairness Act

Ballot Access Fairness Act
Introduced in 2014 Legislative Session as HB 1497, was deemed “Inexpedient To Legislate,” and died on the House floor by a vote of 231-28.

AN ACT relative to the definition of “party” and relative to nomination papers.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Party; Political Organization. Amend RSA 652:11 to read as follows:

652:11 Party.

I. “Party” shall mean any political organization which at the preceding state general election received at least [4] one percent of the total number of votes cast for any one of the following: the office of governor or the offices of United States senators.

II. “Political organization” shall mean any group that intends to run candidates for office and has filed its bylaws and list of officers with the secretary of state.

2 Declaration of Intent. Amend RSA 655:17-a and RSA 655:17-b to read as follows:

655:17-a Declaration of Intent; Other Candidates. Declarations of intent for nonparty or other candidates shall be in the following form and signed by the candidate:

I, ______________________, declare that I am domiciled in Ward __________, in the city (or town or unincorporated place) of _________________, county of ____________, state of New Hampshire, and am a registered voter herein; that I intend to be a candidate for the office of _______________ to be chosen at the general election to be held on the __________ day of __________; and I intend to file nomination papers or pay the fee by the deadline established under RSA 655:43. I further declare that, if qualified as a candidate for said office, I shall not withdraw; and that, if elected, I shall be qualified for and shall assume the duties of said office.

655:17-b Declaration of Intent; Presidential Candidates Who File Nomination Papers.

I. Declarations of intent for each candidate for president who seeks nomination by nomination papers shall be in the form provided in paragraph II. Declarations of intent required by this section shall be filed with the secretary of state, signed by the candidate, and notarized by a notary public.

II. I, ________________, swear under penalties of perjury that I am qualified to be a candidate for president of the United States pursuant to article II, section 1, clause 4 of the United States Constitution, which states, “No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.” I further declare that I am domiciled in the city (or town or unincorporated place) of ____________, county of _____________, state of ________________, and am a qualified voter therein; that I intend to be a candidate for the office of president to be chosen at the general election to be held on the __________ day of __________; and I intend to file nomination papers or pay the fee by the deadline established under RSA 655:43. I further declare that, if qualified as a candidate for said office, I shall not withdraw; and that, if elected, I shall be qualified for and shall assume the duties of said office.

3 Withdrawal. Amend RSA 655:30 to read as follows:

655:30 Withdrawal. When a party candidate has duly filed according to law for nomination at a primary election, or other candidate has submitted nomination papers or paid a fee, no withdrawal or declination of the candidate shall be accepted by the secretary of state subsequent to the last dates for filing a declaration of candidacy or the filing of nomination papers or paying the fee except as provided in RSA 655:31 and 655:34.

4 Nomination Papers. Amend RSA 655:40 to read as follows:

655:40 General Provisions. As an alternative to nomination by party primary, a candidate may have his or her name placed on the ballot for the state general election by submitting the requisite number of nomination papers or paying the requisite fee. Such papers shall contain the name and domicile of the candidate, the office for which the candidate is nominated, and the political organization or principles the candidate represents. Nomination papers shall be signed by such persons only as are registered to vote at the state general election. No voter shall sign more than one nomination paper for each office to be voted for, and no nomination paper shall contain the names of more candidates than there are offices to be filled. Each voter shall sign and date an individual nomination paper. Nomination papers shall be dated in the year of the election.

5 Number; Fee. Amend RSA 655:42 to read as follows:

655:42 Number.

I. It shall require the names of [3,000] 200 registered voters[, 1,500 from each United States congressional district in the state,] or a fee of $100 to nominate by nomination papers a candidate for president, United States senator, or governor.

II. It shall require the names of [1,500] 100 voters registered in the district or a fee of $50 to nominate by nomination papers a candidate for United States representative; [750] 50 names or a fee of $25 to nominate a candidate for councilor; [or] 20 names or a fee $20 to nominate a candidate for state senator; [and] 150 names or a fee of $10 to nominate a candidate for [state representative or] county officer; and 150 names or a fee of $2 to nominate a candidate for state representative.

[III. It shall require the names of registered voters equaling 3 percent of the total votes cast at the previous state general election to nominate by nomination papers a political organization.]

6 Filing Deadlines. Amend RSA 655:43, III to read as follows:

III. [No political organization shall have the names of its candidates placed on the ballot unless the chairman of the organization files a declaration of intent, as provided in RSA 655:17-c, within the filing deadline for candidates established in RSA 655:14-a.] Payment of fees established in RSA 655:42 shall be made in accordance with the deadlines established for filing nomination papers.

7 Repeal. The following are repealed:

I. RSA 655:17-c, relative to declaration of intent for a political organization.

II. RSA 655:19-a, relative to filing fee for presidential candidates who file nomination papers.

III. RSA 655:40-a, relative to nomination of a political organization.

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