New Hampshire Laws Regarding Political Advertising

What constitutes political advertising?

RSA 664:2 defines “political advertising” as “any communication…which expressly or implicitly advocates the success or defeat of any party, measure, or person at any election.”

The term “communication” includes, but is not limited to:

  • publication in any newspaper or other periodical or any Internet site
  • broadcasting on radio, television, or over any public address system
  • transmission by telephone or facsimile
  • placement on any billboards, outdoor facilities, window displays, posters, cards, pamphlets, leaflets, flyers or other circulars
  • direct mailings

What basic requirements must political advertising for or against a candidate contain?

Pursuant to RSA 664:16, political advertisements printed in newspapers, periodicals, or billboards shall be marked at the beginning or at the end thereof “Political Advertising.”

Pursuant to RSA 664:14, political advertising must include:

  • if it is from a candidate campaign, the name and address of the candidate and his fiscal agent or chairman or
  • if it not from a candidate campaign, the name and address of the treasurer of a political committee or natural person who is responsible for the advertising

The advertising must clearly designate the name of the candidate, party, or political committee by or on whose behalf the same is published or broadcast.

In print materials, the name and addresses must be printed or written in a legible size.

What are the basic requirements of political advertising if a candidate or candidate committee has not authorized it?

RSA 664:14, VI requires that the advertising:

  • state and identify the sponsor of the advertisement
  • include the statement: “This advertisement has been paid for by (name of sponsor) and has not been authorized by any candidate.”

TITLE LXIII – ELECTIONS

CHAPTER 664 – POLITICAL EXPENDITURES AND CONTRIBUTIONS

Political Advertising

Section 664:16 Identification of Political Advertising.

Political advertising printed in newspapers, periodicals or billboards shall be marked at the beginning or at the end thereof “Political Advertising.” Rates for advertising shall be filed, no later than 30 days prior to the deadline for filing for office for an election, with the secretary of state by each person or business organization publishing a newspaper or periodical, operating a radio or television station, or selling billboard space. Such schedule shall be open to public inspection, and such schedules may be amended. However, rates in such amendments shall not take effect until 5 days after they are filed with the secretary of state. No person or business organization publishing a newspaper or periodical, operating a radio or television station, or selling billboard space shall charge an advertising rate to any candidate, political committee, party or cause that is different from that charged to any other candidate, political committee, party or cause.

Section 664:14 Signature, Identification, and Lack of Authorization.

I. All political advertising shall be signed at the beginning or the end with the names and addresses of the candidate, his fiscal agent, or the name and address of the chairman or the treasurer of a political committee, or the name and address of a natural person, according to whether a candidate, political committee, or natural person is responsible for it. Said signature shall clearly designate the name of the candidate, party or political committee by or on whose behalf the same is published or broadcast.

II. Political advertising to promote the success or defeat of a measure by a business organization, labor union, or other enterprise or organization shall be signed. The name of the enterprise or organization shall be indicated and the chairman or treasurer of the enterprise or organization shall sign his name and address. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit contributions which are prohibited under RSA 664:4.

III. In the case of printed or written matter, the signature and address of signer shall be printed or written in a size of type or lettering large enough to be clearly legible.

IV. (a) In the case of political advertising broadcast on radio, television, or any public address system, the name and address of the signer shall be clearly identified.

(b) All political advertising broadcast on television shall identify the name of the candidate who pays for the advertisement or whose advertisement is paid for by a campaign committee. Such identification shall be made both aurally and visually. The visual presentation shall be clearly legible and shall use letters equal to or greater than 12 percent of the vertical picture height and shall air for not less than 4 seconds at the conclusion of the broadcast. For the purpose of this section, “campaign committee” means any committee established to elect a particular candidate to office, including raising funds for that purpose.

V. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, buttons or any printed or written political advertising which is attached to or displayed on any motor vehicle need not be signed.

VI. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, any advertising in support of or in opposition to a candidate by a political committee shall comply with this paragraph. If the advertising is not authorized by the candidate or candidate committee, the advertising shall so state and shall identify the sponsor of the advertisement. All such political advertising shall include the statement: “This advertisement has been paid for by (name of sponsor) and has not been authorized by any candidate.” Such statement shall be made both aurally and visually if broadcast on television. The visual presentation on television shall be clearly legible and shall use letters equal to or greater than 12 percent of the vertical picture height and shall be broadcast for not less than 4 seconds at the conclusion of the advertisement.

VII. Any advertising which is not political advertising because it does not advocate the success or defeat of a party, measure, or person, but which mentions or depicts a candidate, shall include the statement: “This advertisement has been paid for by (name of sponsor) and has not been authorized by any candidate.”

VIII. Political advertising in the form of signs or placards may contain an Internet address in lieu of the signature and identification requirements of this section, if the Internet address is printed or written in a size of type or lettering large enough to be clearly legible and the website immediately and prominently displays all of the information required by this section through election day.