Rep Steve Vaillancourt


Absentee/Sample Ballots Are Ready

Every New Hampshire city, town, and ward should now have absentee and sample ballot in possession.
Manchester City Hall has them, and Secretary of State Bil Gardner's office assures me they have all gone out.
Absentee ballots are usually mailed out the same day (or a day after) being received.
Sample ballots are used by some candidates in planning their campaigns.
Along with the races for all offices (including federal, state, and county), the ballot contains three questions.
Two Constitutional Amendments will require a two-thirds majority for passage.  The first amendment would ban an income tax in New Hampshire; the second, which very few voters are likely to completely understand, deals with court rules.
The third question is one which goes to the voters every ten years.  It requires only a simple majority and has failed by only a percent or two the last two decades.  "Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the constitution."  That's it, simply.  I will vote no.  This would be a very expensive and time consuming process; the ConCon as it's called could do nothing beyond what State Reps and Senators can do already.  Of course, any provision accepted by the ConCon would still have to go to voters in a future election and be approved by two-thirds.  Again, I will vote no, but it should be close.


WMUR/UNH Poll Has Dems Taking NH House; Quandt Announces For Speaker

It's time for Republicans to take their heads out of the sand. Both Democrat William Tucker and I came out with an analysis of a virtually split New Hampshire House come November 7.
Republicans, who pooh-poohed that analysis, should remember the year 2006 when people like Democrat Jim Splaine and I were predicting a Democratic takeover at the same time the late Mike Whalley was insisting that Republicans would actually extend their lead.
Fresh on the projection from Mr. Tucker and I comes the WMUR/Granite State Poll which actually shows Democrats ahead 40-33 in the generic  ballot for State Rep.   A seven point lead with 400 seats would, by simply arithmetic, come out to a 28 seat advantage (seven times 400).   Due to factors too complicated to explain here (Democratic votes tend to be concentrated in certain areas and thus not used to maximum effectiveness), you simply can't extrapolate like that.  However, UNH pollster Andy Smith calculates that 40-33 would translate to a 204-196 Democratic edge and a Democratic Speaker--John DiStaso take note!
I suspect those numbers are inflated since they came at the time the poll showed Mitt Romney trailing Obama by 15 points.  Romney, off his debate performance Wednesday night (Obama turned in the worst performance ever, according to Andy Smith; and I concur) has certainly narrowed that gap...if it ever was that large to begin with.  Since the UNH poll was conducted in the midst of Romney's 47 percent gaff, I suspect numbers ballooned more than we should take seriously.
Still...anyone who thinks Republican control of the New Hampshire State House is a given should have his or her head examined.  And anyone who thinks Republicans will have a margin large enough to re-elect Bill O'Brien Speaker should be given residence in a padded room...John DiStaso included!
Regular readers of this blog know that of all the polls out there, I one I take most seriously is the generic Congressional ballot.  In that this UNH poll can be viewed as a generic ballot for State Rep, Republicans pooh-pooh it at their own risk.
The same poll shows voters approving the job the Legislature has done 41-36, so the news is not entirely bad for Republicans.
I repeat my contention that we're headed closer to a 200-200 split than anyone can recall.   My latest number was 201 Republicans, 198 Democrats, and Cynthia Dokmo from Amherst.  In that case, we should start getting used to the words...Speaker Quandt.  In fact, Lee Quandt, R-Exeter, today sent a letter to Representatives (at least I got one) announcing his candidacy for Speaker.  He noted three points I totally agree with:
--Every Representative will be treated with the respect due based upon the position as an elected Representative of the people.
--Every Representative will be able to speak his or her mind on any issue even if it conflicts with Quandt's position.  "No one will be summarily removed from a committee or have their seat changed in Representatives Hall due to my displeasure of their stance or vote."
--The business of the House will be conducted based upon decades of prior proven practice and protocol.  There will not be arbitrary decisions from the chair based on whim.
I have endorsed Lee Quandt for Speaker.  The closer the Democrats get to 200 (without going over of course), the better his chances.
I would add one other suggestion, that the Speaker not be allowed to troll the hallways looking for Reps to fill vacant seats on committees, that as was the case under Democratic Speaker Norelli, substitutes be allowed on committees only when the regular member notes in writing that he or she will be out at least a week.


Expect 750,000 Votes In NH On Nov. 6

If the past in any indication--and it most certainly is--expect upwards of three-quarters of a million votes to be cast in New Hampshire on November 6.  Turnout is always up substantially (nearly 75 percent) in a Presidential year over the previous year (2012 vs. 2010).

Here are the numbers for the past four election cycles.  Note that not only the numbers of absentee ballots cast is way up, but the percentage is also way up in Presidential years (5.8-6.5 percent vs. 9.1-10.0 percent).

2004--Presidential Year

683,672 votes cast

62,059 absentee, 9.1 percent


417,436 votes cast

24,380 absentee, 5.8 percent

2008--Presidential Year

719,403 votes cast

72,264 absentee,  10.0 percent


461,423 votes cast

30,032 absentee, 6.5 percent

That's a 72.3 percent increase from the 2006 total to the 2008 number adn then a 35.9 percent decrease for the 2010 off year election.

If we were to increase 72.3 percent from the 2010 number for the 2012 turnout, turnout would be 795,032.  However, that's not likely since population growth has basically stopped in the past four years.

I've also run the numbers for Manchester turnout.  Most likely, we'll see 50,000 votes cast in the city this year.  That's three and a half times the number cast in last year's city election (less than 15,000).  Amazing.  Note that Manchester's percent of the total votes cast in the state is slightly higher in Presidential years.

Manchester Votes Cast--2004--47,130 (6.9 percent of state)

Manchester Votes Cast--2006--27,260 (6.5 percent of state)

Manchester Votes Cast--2008--49,147 (6.8 percent of state)

Manchester Votes Cast--2010--30,309 (6.6 percent of state)

I've got a ward-by-ward chart which I'll show on next week's edition of The Liberty Express (Monday at 10 p.m. on Channel 23; also Thursday at 9 p.m., Sunday at 6 a.m. and noon; always available at


Who Won The Debate?

I think we all know the answer, but I can't write about it here.
I just wrote my exclusive column for the New Hampshire Herald which should be in a Manchester or Concord supermarket as early as tomorrow.
I can't wait to read what I think.
I trust some sports analogies are in order.
What I did not say is that not since Richard Nixon, in those black and white days of 1960, refused make-up and sweated through his five o'clock shadow while John F. Kennedy looked entirely calm and collected....not since that year of the first televised debate has an outcome been determined by the jousting...until this year???

Media Watch--DiStaso's Ignorance Is Stunning

For such a veteran reporter as John DiStaso, the ignorance he displays in his Granite Status column in Thursday's Union Leader must be considered nothing less than stunning.
Always one to lap up slop fed to him by leaders of either political party, DiStaso displays total lack of government and the political situation--not to mention history--by asserting that when the New Hampshire meets on organization day December 5, it will "just a formality".
That may or may not be the case, but for a high paid reporter to say so with such certainty is absolutely mind boggling.
DiStaso then goes on the list O'Brien's supporters, mostly the usual suspects, as if he's being paid by the Speaker to do his bidding.
The reporter correctly reports that Republican will caucus on November 15 and Democrats on November 17 to choose their candidates for Speaker.  However, he asserts, with no factual basis, that the real action will take place when the Republican meet, assuming both O'Brien and challenger Lee Quandt of Exeter win their elections.
That statement assumes that Republicans will be in control, no sure thing as any astute observer of the scene should feel compelled to at least note.  Numbers cruncher William Tucker, admittedly a Democrat, yesterday placed the odds at 50/50 of Democrats taking control of the House.  My own work, as posted here yesterday, is virtually identical, and no one could accuse me of being a Democrat.
But let's say that Republican maintain control.  Off the top of my head, I can think of a dozen Republicans (likely to be elected)  who will never vote for Bill O'Brien for Speaker.  That's just a start; I suspect the number is closer to three dozen.  Thus if Democrats win as few as  165 seats they will be able to throw all their support behind a candidate other than O'Brien and deny him the gavel.  You don't have to delve too deeply into history to find the last time that happened, 2004 when all Democrats and only a few Republicans elected Doug Scamman Speaker (of course, we'll never really know who voted for whom since it was by secret ballot).
It's a mere quibble to state that DiStaso most likely has the wrong name for "Paul" Silva as an O'Brien supporter.  I can only assume he means Peter Silva, the Republican leader who took over when D.J. Bettencourt left in disgrace.  Yes, that would be the same Peter Silva who earlier in the year, as a Rick Perry supporter, said he could never support Mitt Romney for President.
Peter, Paul, who's counting.  We all make mistakes (I certainly do here, but I try to correct them...just ask Josh McElveen...that's EE). 
DiStaso's big mistake, an unforgivable one at that, is his insistence that all will be decided when Republicans meet and the rest will be "just a formality".
Gary Rayno Gets It--Congratulations to DiStaso's lower paid Union Leader colleague Gary Rayno for pointing out in his Sunday column how you just can't vote early in New Hampshire for any old reason.  As noted in a posting here last week, absentee voting is severely limited by law, a fact both parties seem to be ignoring as they try to mine early votes.  Rayno mentioned a reason I hadn't noted, religious need.  If November 6 is a holiday in your religion, you may legally vote absentee.  I trust that will not apply to many people, but it's a good catch by Rayno.
I'll post historical percentages of absentee voters in an upcoming blog.  In the meantime, think this over.  Do you think there's any difference between the percentage of those voting absentee in a Presidential versus a non-Presidential year (in other words, 2008 vs. 2010).  Answer to come...