By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – Democrats will provide voter assistance in nine different languages on its hotline for the upcoming election.
In addition to English, voters can go to the voter hotline 603-GO-N-VOTE (603-466-8683) and get assistance in Spanish, French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Indonesian, Vietnam, Korean and Nepali.
Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party held a press briefing to go over plans for the Nov. 3 election Thursday and said he expects a record turnout with people being very excited and energized to cast their ballot either in person on election day or through expanded absentee ballot options.
He said it is easy to vote and people can vote in person on election day.
This is the first time the NHDP hotline has been available in so many languages though he noted, it used to be that Democrats, including state Senate President Donna Soucy, would go door to door in Manchester speaking French.
The hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. and Holly Schulman, spokesman for the party, said many of those staffing the phones are volunteer attorneys or attorneys in training who speak these many languages.
While the populations of these non-speaking residents may be fairly low, as the state grows it is important to be welcoming and informing, Democratic officials said.
This year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the party is also expanding efforts to keep voters informed about voting.
Any Granite State resident who is a U.S. citizen who is 18 can vote here and you can register to vote on election day, period.
This year, those concerned about COVID-19 can vote absentee and they can go directly to their town or city hall and get an absentee ballot and vote on the spot or take it home and mail it back.
Buckley said for folks to expect a very high turnout this year because of the consequential election and to be patient on getting the results.
“We feel it is important that every vote is counted and that may take a little more time this year,” he told reporters.
“I would prepare for a little bit of a long night.”
The party has reached out and had 3.3 million contacts with voters in the state since July, and is using texting as a new form of communication.
He said he expected many of the voters to have voted before Nov. 3 and the strategy will be to send more texts, emails and knocks on doors with masks to ensure that those who have not already said they have voted get to the polls.
The fact that President Donald Trump plans a visit to New Hampshire this Sunday does nothing to move the needle for him, Buckley said, and has historically had no impact on those who plan to vote Democratic.
He said the vast majority of those attending such rallies come from out of state anyway.
The fact that some college campuses are not as full as they usually are for the election is not a significant concern, Buckley said, as the September primary showed higher numbers of voters in those college towns that tend to lean Democratic.
While he said he was upbeat about the chances of many Democrats on the ballot he said a lot can change in a few days before an election and he noted polls in the past have been wrong.
Buckley said he believes that after the election Democrats will maintain a majority of the seats in the state House and Senate but is unsure whether they will have a super majority needed to override vetoes.
The Senate needs just two more Democrats and the House would need 34 more Democrats for that to happen.
He said it is possible that the state’s Executive Council might have an all-women majority for the first time. Buckley said while elections in New Hampshire have always run smoothly, there will be oversight out there to look at any issues that may come up.