In the face of the “throwaway culture” which judges a person’s worth through things like wealth or celebrity or power, baptism gives each of us the mission of working for the good of other people, especially the poor and the vulnerable. Our job is to show that all human beings, at every moment of life, possess a God-given dignity that can never be eliminated or diminished. Since the political world is where society makes its most significant decisions concerning human dignity and the common good, we have a serious moral obligation to participate in the public square and to vote. Here are some resources to help in carrying out that duty in the 2020 elections.
State Primary Election - September 8, 2020
General Election – November 3, 2020
How Do I Register to Vote
You can register to vote if you are a US citizen who will be 18 years of age or older on the day of the next election, and you live in New Hampshire. (If you are already registered to vote in the place where you currently live in New Hampshire, you do not need to re-register). Registration can be done either in person or remotely.
In-person registration can be carried out at the polling place on Election Day, or at your town or city clerk’s office on a day prior to the election. CLICK HERE for a list of town/city clerks and their contact info. The clerk will be able to give you information on when, how and where to register to vote.
Remote (or “absentee”) registration is allowed under various circumstances, including if you are ill due to COVID or even just have concern that in-person registration might expose you or other people to COVID. Here are instructions on how to fill out a request for an absentee voter registration package.
How Do I Vote in an Election?
Once you are registered, you can cast your vote either in-person, or by absentee ballot.
To vote in person: CLICK HERE to check with your local town or city clerk to find out which polling place you should go to, and the hours that the polling place will be open. You should bring a driver’s license or another acceptable photo ID with you (for a list of what the State accepts for ID, go to the Voter ID Explanatory Document from the State of New Hampshire website). If you do not have an ID, you will still be able to vote, after signing a challenged voter affidavit.
To vote remotely (by absentee ballot): You can vote by absentee ballot if you meet certain requirements, including if you are ill due to COVID or even just have concern that in-person voting might expose you or other people to COVID. Note that the Secretary of State and the Attorney General have said that, due to the current public health emergency, ALL registered voters are entitled to vote by absentee ballot. See “Voting by Absentee Ballot During the State of Emergency Related to COVID-19” from the State of New Hampshire website. In order for an absentee ballot to be counted, it must arrive by 5 PM on Election Day, so if you are voting by absentee ballot, mail your ballot in as early as possible to ensure that your ballot arrives well in advance of the deadline!
For further information on voting in New Hampshire, go to the website for the NH Secretary of State.
How Do I Decide Who to Vote For?
That’s the big question, isn’t it? For Catholics, it is obvious that deciding who to vote for is something that cannot be based on our own self-interest. Instead, just like all the decisions we make in life, it must be based on one thing: a desire to serve God and neighbor. If we confess Jesus as Lord, then it only follows that we must see our political allegiances through the lens of baptism, and not the other way around.
Since the Church cannot be partisan, the Church does not tell Catholics who to vote for or against in an election. It is up to each Catholic voter to prayerfully consider the policies of each candidate in an election and then decide which one will best advance human dignity and the common good.
The US Catholic Bishops have put together an excellent booklet called Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (Español), which lays out the major themes of Catholic teaching which the Bishops urge us to consider as we make our voting decisions. The Diocese of Manchester has also published a shorter pamphlet called Voting for the Common Good (Español) that summarizes Faithful Citizenship and provides answers to questions on voting as conscientious Catholics.
The Diocese of Manchester has also compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on Catholics and Voting.