ICYMI: Melanie Levesque would be a forward-looking NH Secretary of State
In case you missed it, former West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant wrote an op-ed in Foster's Daily Democrat highlighting candidate for Secretary of State Senator Melanie Levesque’s long record of fighting for Granite Staters’ voting rights and the sanctity of our elections.
Read the full op-ed here.
Foster’s Daily Democrat: Melanie Levesque would be a forward-looking NH Secretary of State By Natalie Tennant
I remember when I was younger, my mom would use a saying, “never grow a wishbone daughter where a backbone ought to be.” What she meant was, she wanted her youngest child to have the courage to be a trailblazer and to look at adversity as a challenge and challenges as opportunities.
When I was elected West Virginia’s 29th Secretary of State in 2008, I had many challenges ahead of me, but I had a strong backbone to face them. I turned the achievements of my office into a model for the nation. We updated the voter registration process, implemented the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) and saved taxpayers millions of dollars with our streamlined business services. With the election for Secretary of State happening on December 7th, New Hampshire has an opportunity to change its course and to lead when it comes to election advancements.
In New Hampshire, the Secretary of State is elected by the legislature — the folks you just voted into office less than a month ago. And there is some good news: the Honorable Melanie Levesque is running for Secretary of State this year.
I know Melanie from when she served as the Chair of the Senate Election Law Committee in 2019 and I testified in front of her committee about election processes. My first impression – this is a woman with a backbone. It was easy to see Melanie’s passion for ensuring every eligible voter would be able to cast a ballot. She demonstrated her ingenuity to look past doing it the way it has always been done because she is driven to look for modern, efficient, and secure ways to allow voters to register.
In 2019, Melanie introduced the Secure Modern Automated Registration Technology (SMART) Act, which would have allowed you to get registered to vote when you get a new or updated New Hampshire license because all the necessary information is provided.
Currently New Hampshire law does not allow for this streamlined registration process to take place.
The SMART Act would have created a more efficient government by allowing the DMV to send the proper information to your voter database and local supervisor of the checklist so you can get registered with just one trip to the DMV. Adding this supplemental way to register is not only more efficient, but, as it has done in other states, also saves taxpayer dollars, it is more secure, and cuts down on errors which occur when registering to vote on paper. And another advantage? It complements Same Day Voter Registration, which would stay in place.
What most impressed me about Melanie was not just the bill she introduced, but the work she put in to make sure it was the best system for New Hampshire. She was inclusive by bringing Republicans on board and always having an open door for suggestions. I know how important and productive this approach is when you want to move forward.
Melanie even took the time to visit different Secretaries of State offices throughout New England to gain their input, guidance, and learn best practices. She met with the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office and local election officials so everyone could learn how other states make their voter registration systems work. This kind of hard work, sharing and dedication is what Granite Staters deserve and should demand in their Secretary of State.
While only legislators will vote in the upcoming election for Secretary of State, you can still play a critical role. Contact your representative and make sure they know you want to see a Secretary of State who looks forward and brings the office into the 21st century. Then you won’t have to wish for one.
As someone who has done the job – trust me, New Hampshire will be better for it.