EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 5, 2012

N.H. voters face big decisions

Three ballot questions face voters today in addition to big decisions about president, governor and Congress.

Question 1 asks voters to ban an income tax in New Hampshire. Question 2 would give the Legislature the authority to regulate courts. Question 3 asks if a convention should be held to amend the state Constitution.

All three questions face a tough test: Two-thirds voter approval is needed for passage.

Brouchures from the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office that explain the questions will be available from election workers at polling places.

Polls show close contests for the major offices.

President Obama, a Democrat, is opposed by Republican Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Maggie Hassan is opposing Republican gubernatorial nominee Ovide Lamontagne to replace Gov. John Lynch. Hassan is a former state senator. Lamontagne was the 2010 runner-up in the GOP U.S. Senate primary, losing to Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

Rematches for Congress pit Republican incumbent Congressman Charles Bass and Democrat challenger Ann McLane Kuster in the 2nd District and Republican incumbent Congressman Frank Guinta against Democratic former Congressman Carol Shea-Porter in the 1st District.

There is no U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire this year. The seat held by Democrat Jeanne Shaheen will be up in the 2014 election cycle. Ayotte’s seat will be up in 2016.

Voters also will elect a new Legislature, Executive Council and fill county offices in Rockingham and Hillsborough counties.

The Secretary of State’s Office has predicted record turnout, about 722,000 voters.

“I’m hoping turnout will be better than expected and people realize how important this election is, not only on the national level but the state level,” League of Women Voters of New Hampshire co-president Liz Tentarelli said yesterday.

New Hampshire’s Legislature made many significant changes in the past two years and the Executive Council, which approves contracts, effectively made state policy by refusing to approve some contracts this term, she said.

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