By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – Despite the pandemic, New Hampshire voters turned out in record numbers both at the polls and through absentee ballots on Tuesday.
While the percentage will go a bit lower when the newly registered voters are factored in, it appears 78 percent of all those on the voter rolls before Tuesday (1,043,178) did cast ballots.
“New Hampshire remains the easiest state in the nation to vote,” said Secretary of State William Gardner.
He said during the day Tuesday that he thought it was possible that the state could set a record for percentage voter turnout that had not been seen since John F. Kennedy ran for President. That was about 78 percent.
He thanked all elected officials and those who worked in polling places “for a job well done.”
Gov. Chris Sununu also praised workers at the polls and Gardner for another calm and orderly election in the midst of a pandemic.
It appears that New Hampshire voters cast a total of 814,092 votes, a record which surpassed 2016 when 775,850 cast ballots.
As expected, due to changes in the law this year to allow voters to select absentee ballots because of COVID-19, the state saw a record of 235,834 returned ballots, beating the record set in 2016.
A full tally of election results on the Secretary of State’s website is available here: https://sos.nh.gov/elections/elections/election-results/2020/general-election/
“Voter engagement in New Hampshire is alive and well,” Gardner said.
The results of the election show that U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, was returned for another six years in Washington with 450,756 votes over challenger Bryant “Corky” Messner, a Republican, with 326,223 votes, and Libertarian Justin O’Donnell received 18,420 votes.
Sununu, a Republican, was also returned for another term with 518,400 votes and was the top vote getter in the state. He defeated Democratic challenger state Sen. Dan Feltes who received 263,988 votes. Libertarian Darryl Perry received 11,328 votes.
In Congressional District 1, incumbent Democrat Chris Pappas was returned for another two years receiving 205,606 votes to that of Matt Mowers, a Republican challenger who received 185,159 votes. Libertarian Zachary Dumont received 9,747 votes.
In Congressional District 2, Democrat Ann McLane Kuster was also returned to office with 207,805 votes over Republican challenger Steve Negron, with 168,471. Libertarian Andrew Olding received 9,093 votes.
The Executive Council has gone from a 3-2 Democratic majority to a 4-1 Republican majority.
District 1 Executive Councilor Michael Cryans, the Democratic incumbent, was defeated by challenger Joe Kenney a Republican with Kenney receiving 79,993 votes to Cryans’ 74,880.
District 2 Executive Council seat, which was vacated by Democrat Andru Volinsky who ran unsuccessfully for governor, was won by another Democrat, Cinde Warmington. She received 79,399 votes to Jim Beard, a Republican who received 66,400 votes.
In District 3, vacated by retiring Republican Russell Prescott, another Republican won.
Janet Stevens received 86,006 votes over Democrat Mindi Messmer with 77,969 votes.
District 4 went to incumbent Republican Ted Gatsas who received 79,779 votes over Mark MacKenzie, a Democrat, with 63,540 votes.
District 5 was the closest race with Democratic incumbent Debora Pignatelli losing her seat. She received 74,060 votes while Republican David Wheeler received 75,287 votes.
Both the state Senate and House of Representatives has also flipped from Democratic majorities to Republican.
They will be sworn in and take office in December.
A full tally of their votes can be found at the Secretary of State’s website.