Electoral improvements

Jan 2021

Brentwood Newsletter LTE Submission Regarding the a new proposal to improve electoral integrety in NH - Jan 2021

Happy New Year. I hope you and yours had a joyous holiday season. I have been working on many different bills I am proposing this term, but I wanted to share a little about some legislation that I am not spearheading, but I have tried to change how it was proposed and would work if passed.

The Electoral College is a system that recognizes that our country is a big place and people in different areas of our country have different experiences and different issues which are important to them. The idea that the President should be chosen by reaching out to and addressing the issues of different areas of the country instead of just using the population dense areas to swamp out the concerns of local and regional concerns of the less populated areas of the country is an incredibly good system.

There are a lot of people who are unhappy with the results of the election and have concerns about our current election process. Some want to end the electoral college and replace it with popular vote while others want to split up how electors are chosen. Some of these changes are based in an effort toward direct democracy and others have goals to carve off areas of the state where they believe election fraud happens to secure one area they believe it is possible to reduce or eliminate errors and fraud within elections.

However, in addition to making sure candidates address issues from different areas and populations the electoral college also acts as a security system. If there are errors, fraud, or other efforts to game elections in one state, they only affect that one state's results. It is hard (if not impossible) to know ahead of time which areas will be close enough that any efforts to manipulate the results will change the results in that state, let alone the whole country which helps thwart the manipulation of our elections. However, it has become clear that people would like even more security of elections within the states. Often the local elections are seen as fair and handed well but it is all the other elections that cannot be trusted. Some of those concerns include border towns where people are supposedly bussed in from neighboring areas or college towns where people argue about if people coming to the school for a single semester have the ability to vote or vacation areas where people fear that people use vacation homes which are occupied only a few days a year are used as reason to vote in those areas, the manipulation.

What I have proposed to some of the people trying to come up with a plan to counteract perceived manipulation by what they see as stacking the deck is to copy those same protections to the state level of requiring widespread support and the difficulty of manipulating many (potentially unknown) battleground areas. This could be done by dividing the state up into districts and whomever wins the most districts wins the state. The more districts the harder it is to game the election, but increases complexity (perhaps, unnecessarily) if some or many of the districts have the same or very similar political concerns. For example, the seacoast may have issues like nuclear power stations, offshore wind farms, and trade via the ocean as major issues while the people in the north might be more concerned about border patrols on their highways and trade with Canada, while Manchester/Nashua might be focus on mass transit to/from Boston and homelessness/affordable housing.

It seems like the proposal may end up using the five Executive Council districts as the “NH Electoral College” and whoever wins the popular vote in the most districts would be the winner of all our electoral votes. If that was to pass, it might make presidential stops all the way up in the north country a thing as they try to convince people all over the state to support them and make the system even harder to manipulate for those who have lost some confidence in our elections in recent years.

Hon Rep Josh Yokela

Representing Brentwood, Danville and Fremont