Referendum Statewide

LFDA Editor

The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in 1999 that the state constitution bars statewide referendums that would allow citizens to directly vote on issues.

Supporters of referendums believe that citizens should have a direct voice in major issues.

Opponents believe that since New Hampshire has one of the largest legislatures in the world, citizens have ample access to their elected representatives and do not need the power of a referendum.  Opponents also point to the experience of California, where statewide referendums are often "bought" by special interest groups that pay for aggressive advertising campaigns.

New Hampshire is one of 23 states that does not permit ballot initiatives or referendums. Click here for definitions of ballot measures, initiatives, and referendums.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

Killed in the House

Constitutional amendment allowing voters to pass or veto state laws by referendum.

Interim Study

Constitutional amendment allowing voters to veto state laws by referendum.

Killed in the House

Constitutional amendment allowing voters to veto state laws by referendum.

Should NH allow binding referendums?

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Issue Status

A proposed constitutional amendment would have given NH residents the power to propose laws and get them on the ballot without legislative approval, as long as they could collect a minimum number of signatures. The amendment was put forward by Rep. Caleb Dyer and was killed in the House. 

See what citizens had to say about a referendum option in NH

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