Referendum Statewide - Issue Summary

Should New Hampshire allow referendums?

Referendum StatewideBy: 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 NH 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, referendums and legislative measures.

Previous Legislation

In January 2012, Rep. David Bates (R-Windham) proposed CACR 21 to allow voters to veto state laws by referendum. The House sent the resolution to interim study, effectively killing the bill. 

A similar bill (CACR 25) failed to make it out of the House Election Law Committee in 2010. 

Do you think New Hampshire should have a referendum process?

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Referendum Statewide Member Posts
Take Action

If you are interested in a statewide referendum and want to take action here are some choices:

  • If you are new to contacting your government, please visit our page on  How to Take Action.
  • Contact one of the organizations listed in Learn More. These groups represent the pro or con positions of issues.
  • Contact a government official as follows:

1. Contact members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives or the New Hampshire Senate.

2. Contact the Committee chairperson or members of the House Election Law Committee or the Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee – these are the committees that oversee this issue.

3. Contact the New Hampshire Secretary of State.

4. Give your opinion to Governor Maggie Hassan

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Learn More/Take Action

Do you think New Hampshire should allow referendums?  Whatever your thoughts are, we urge you to make your voice heard. See the "Learn More/Take Action" section on this page for more information.

Issue Status

In January 2012, Rep. David Bates (R-Windham) proposed CACR 21 to allow voters to veto state laws by referendum. The House sent the resolution to interim study, effectively killing the bill.

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