EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 5, 2012

N.H. has fewer registered voters than in 2008

The Republican primary race may be heating up, but the number of registered Granite State voters hasn't increased.

In fact, the total number of registered voters is down across the state, according to the office of Secretary of State William Gardner. As of Dec. 14, there were 767,383 voters registered, compared to 863,542 in 2008, about an 11 percent decline.

A purge of the checklist Aug. 31, 2011, resulted in a drop of 97,541 voters statewide. Even so, most local supervisors of the checklist said fewer people have registered to vote for this presidential primary than in past years.

Pam Hartung, supervisor of the checklist in Hampstead, said she thinks the numbers are down in her town because Democrats have no reason to register.

"A lot of people are calling this a Republican primary," she said. "It's just Obama for the Democrats, with no opposition, where back in 2008, both parties had a lot of people running. It was totally open. And there was more registration because of it."

The majority of registered voters in local towns are undeclared. In Londonderrry, Gerry VanGrevenhof said they registered just seven people during after-hours session on Tuesday and most were undeclared.

"It's been slow registering," she said. "We've probably had eight to 12 each night the past few weeks. But we've been seeing more Republicans and undeclared voters registering."

Derry was one of the only towns that reported higher numbers this year, according to supervisor of the checklist Renee Routhier.

"There have been a good amount of people coming in to register," she said. "It was surprising, actually. It's been more undeclared voters coming in to register."

At this point, Routhier said, no one wants to commit to a party.

"People want to learn as much about the candidates and then make a decision," she said. "Being undeclared gives them the chance to take either ballot."

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