While much of the focus has been on young voters, New Hampshire lawmakers also are considering changes to make it easier for older residents to cast their ballots. The House Election Law Committee will hold public hearings Tuesday on two bills related to older voters. One would allow unrelated caregivers to deliver absentee ballots on behalf of voters who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The other would allow anyone age 60 or older to vote up to five weeks before an election. Rep. Richard Komi, a Democrat from Manchester, is the sponsor of the second bill, which he said is partly inspired by his 75-year-old mother. He wants to help elderly residents who are in poor health or who worry about inclement weather to vote when it is most convenient for them.
“We seem to be ignoring the older population when it comes to voting,” Komi said on Monday. “The focus has been shifted from older people to young people.”
This year’s Legislature skews slightly younger than in past years, where the average age in the House is 61. Political party leaders estimate that 44 of the 400 House members are under 40, including some Democrats who were motivated to run by recent changes in election law that they felt unfairly targeted young voters. One new law, requiring voters to provide more documentation if they register within 30 days of an election, remains tied up in court. The other, which ends the distinction between full-fledged residents and those claiming the state as their domicile for voting, takes effect July 1.