EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 6, 2012

Constitutional questions appear doomed

Proponents of two constitutional amendments and convening a constitutional convention may have struck out at the polls yesterday.

The constitutional amendments required two-thirds approval for passage, but neither appeared likely to achieve that. The third question, regarding convening a constitutional convention, required only a simple majority, but it, too, appeared destined to fail.

With 55 to 56 percent of the statewide vote counted, the income tax question had a 57 to 43 percent edge, not nearly enough for the two-thirds majority needed. The court oversight question didn’t even have a majority, with 55 percent of the vote in. The nays had 51 percent of the vote to 49 percent favoring the amendment.

And, the constitutional convention question appeared destined to fail miserably. With 55 percent of the vote in, 64 percent disapproved, with just 36 percent favoring it.

One question called for a constitutional ban on a state income tax, the other would have given the Legislature regulatory authority over the courts.

Prior to the election, political pundits agreed there were too many tight races on the ballot — and too many races altogether — for voters to pay much attention to what was happening at the bottom, the place for all three questions.

Some suggested many voters would simply skip those last three questions and it appears, in some communities, that forecast was accurate.

Take Hampstead, where 5,319 people cast ballots. By the time voters got to the bottom of the ballot, those numbers trailed off. Just 4,654 voted on the income tax question, 4,521 on the Legislature’s control over the courts ad fewer still — 4,514 — on the constitutional convention.

A majority of voters in Southern New Hampshire favored the constitutional amendments, but it didn’t appear there would be the needed two-thirds approval.

The call for a constitutional convention fared poorly, drawing more negative votes than supporters in most local towns.

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