New Hampshire Announces 2016 Filing Period

Image: Election volunteers await voters at a polling station in Nashua, New Hampshire
Election volunteers await voters just after the polls opened at a polling station in Nashua, New Hampshire, January 10, 2012. MIKE SEGAR / Reuters

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By Kailani Koenig

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Presidential candidates aiming to compete here in the first-in-the-nation primary will be able to file to be on the ballot between Nov. 4 and Nov. 20, New Hampshire’s Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s office announced Wednesday.

The filing period for the last cycle in 2011 was also announced on the last day of September.

Gardner has not yet set the date for the primary, though many expect it to be held on Feb. 9, 2016. If that holds true, it will be the latest the contest has been held since 1996. Last presidential cycle, New Hampshire’s important primary was held Jan. 10, 2012.

To file as a candidate, the presidential hopeful must be qualified to run under the U.S. Constitution – they must be a citizen of the United States, a resident for more than 14 years, and be at least 35 years old, and a registered Republican or Democrat. The candidate must file a declaration of candidacy to New Hampshire’s Secretary of State’s office with a filing fee of $1,000.

If a person seeking to run can’t pay the $1,000 fee, they must prove their indigence, and there is a way to get on the ballot through a small number of petitions from each county in the state.

The New Hampshire primary does not have as many stringent requirements to file as other states do. Candidates are not required to collect signatures and they only have to pay a small fee compared to the cost in some other states, like $40,000 in South Carolina.

The secretary of state’s office also reported the current totals of registered voters in the state, as of Wednesday: There are 261,906 registered Republicans, 229,884 registered Democrats, and 380,751 registered as Undeclared, for a total of 872,541 people.

New Hampshire state law says that the filing period ends on the third Friday of November, which is Nov. 20 this year, but the secretary of state has the authority to move it.