In the prior session, the House and Senate both passed CACR21 by massive margins. Sponsored by two liberty Republicans, this legislation would amend the New Hampshire Constitution by abolishing the office of the Register of Probate. This position exists in each county and is essentially obsolete. It pays only $100 per year and has no powers, authorities, or duties, other than technically being responsible for sending historically significant things from the probate court to the state archives, which is a redundant task.
In 2011, the legislature shifted the responsibilities of the Register of Probate to the courts. But because the Constitution created the office, it could only be abolished by amending the Constitution. In New Hampshire, the Constitution could only be amended if the House and Senate each pass the Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution (CACR) with 60% in each chamber, and if the people vote on the ballot question to approve the measure by over 66%.
Voting yes on question 1 would make the government a little smaller and it could save the taxpayers a few million dollars per year.
Every voter in New Hampshire will see two questions on their ballots on November 8th. The first will read:
2022 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT QUESTIONS
Constitutional Amendment Proposed by the 2022 General Court
1. “Are you in favor of amending articles 71 and 81 of the second part of the constitution to read as follows:
[Art.] 71. [County Treasurers, County Attorneys, Sheriffs, and Registers of Deeds Elected.] The county treasurers, county attorneys, sheriffs and registers of deeds, shall be elected by the inhabitants of the several towns, in the several counties in the State, according to the method now practiced, and the laws of the state, provided nevertheless the legislature shall have authority to alter the manner of certifying the votes, and the mode of electing those officers; but not so as to deprive the people of the right they now have of electing them. [Art.] 81. [Judges Not to Act as Counsel.] No judge shall be of counsel, act as advocate, or receive any fees as advocate or counsel, in any probate business which is pending, or may be brought into any court of probate in the county of which he or she is judge.”
(Passed by the N.H. House 294 Yes 43 No; Passed by Senate 21 Yes 3 No.) CACR 21
The counter-argument: Many believe that the Register of Probate served as an independent advocate for citizens in proceedings in probate court. Therefore, eliminating the position and transferring its duties to the courts would be a negative policy change.
After being convinced by other pro-liberty activists, I now recommend voting ‘yes’ on question 2, which asks whether we should convene a constitutional convention, which would totally open up the entire NH Constitution to be rewritten. The delegates to the convention are elected in a non-partisan election, meaning without Rs or Ds being attached to their names. Any amendment passed at the convention would then need to be ratified by two-thirds of New Hampshire’s voters at the next election. It is unlikely that 67% of voters would support an anti-liberty constitutional amendment, which means that the risk is minimal. It is unlikely that enough people will vote to call the convention, though. The question is asked on the ballot automatically every ten years. By 2032, New Hampshire will already be majority libertarian, and it may even be independent from the DC Empire at that point!
The counter-argument: This sort of convention could be taken over by the elites, who may be able to amend the constitution in tyrannical ways. The question is asked on the ballot automatically every ten years. While we have thousands of amazing libertarians and hundreds of thousands of pro-liberty voters in New Hampshire, I think it’s best to wait ten more years before calling a convention, just to be safe.
Bottom line: I recommend voting ‘yes’ on question 1 and ‘yes’ on question 2.
My full recommendations for Hooksett voters are below.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Liberty Block or any of its staff. We welcome all forms of serious feedback and debate.