Conway voters may participate in the state Democratic and Republican Primaries on Tuesday, Sept. 8, at the Conway Town Garage, 1611 East Main St. in Center Conway, from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

The New Hampshire Secretary of State has not yet decided whether we will be able to repeat our May 2020 drive-through format or whether we will be required to set up a traditional indoor voting layout inside the garage.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis and the need for social distancing, election officials are asking voters to consider using the absentee voting process instead of coming to the polls in person. Because the election is the day after Labor Day, it is really important to request your absentee ballot now, and get it back to the clerk before Labor Day weekend, if at all possible.

You can find an absentee ballot application on the town website, conwaynh.org. Sample ballots will also be posted on the town website this week. Absentee ballot applications are being distributed to local post offices, The Conway Daily Sun office, Hannaford and Shaw's. They also are available at the town hall or by calling the town clerk to request than an application be mailed to you.

Complete the application and return it to the town clerk. A ballot will be mailed to you, to complete and return to the clerk, preferably via snail mail.

The final deadline for return of absentee ballots is still being determined by the Secretary of State. Until we hear otherwise, we will continue to plan for the clerk to be at her office on Monday, Sept. 7, from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. to accept ballots in person from voters who were not able to get the ballot into the mail in time for it to arrive at the Center Conway Post Office on Election Day.

Absentee voters have not typically been allowed to return their ballots in person on Election Day. The Secretary of State may adjust this rule for the September Primary, but we don’t yet know. A voter’s best bet is to get the ballot back to the clerk ASAP, or drive it to the Center Conway Post Office and mail it there.

The Center Conway postmaster is aware that ballots will be coming in, and the town clerk will collect all ballots from the Postmaster before the office closes on Election Day.

If you need to register to vote, there are four ways to do that: 1) Check the new registration box on the absentee ballot application, and you will be mailed the relevant forms; 2) contact the town clerk directly any time between now and Friday, Aug. 28; 3) register with the supervisors of the checklist at their meeting at the Town Hall on Saturday, Aug. 29, at 11 a.m.; or 4) register on Election Day.

In order to register, you will need to provide documents showing that you will be 18 or older on Election Day, that you are a U.S. citizen (by birth or naturalization), and that you are domiciled in Conway. If you do not have all the necessary documentation, you may still be able to register, in person, by signing an affidavit of identity.

For the Sept. 8 election, voters who are registered as Democrats will be given the Democratic ballot. Voters who are registered as Republicans will be given the Republican ballot. Voters who are Undeclared will be allowed to affiliate with a party and choose either a Democratic or Republican ballot.

If you were listed on the checklist as an Undeclared voter in February, and you voted in the Presidential Primary, and did not “return to Undeclared” on your way out of the polling location, you will still be registered with the party in which you voted that day.

To check your registration status, go to sos.nh.gov and look for the link (on the right side of the page, under the NH Votes logo) to “Voter Information Look-up”. You will be able to find your registration status, and if you request an absentee ballot, you will be able to see whether the clerk has received your application, if she has mailed you a ballot, and if she has received your ballot.

Please contact Town Clerk Louise Inkell at (603) 447-3811, Ext. 218, with questions, or contact me at dfauver@coopercargillchant.com.

Deborah Fauver is the Conway town moderator.

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