City and town clerks expect smooth sailing — with maybe a rip current or two — Feb. 9 at the first national election since the full implementation of New Hampshire’s voter ID law. Larger municipalities, including Keene, are looking for volunteers to greet people at the polls to ensure they’re at the right ward and in the correct line — which is based on whether they have a legal form of photo ID and are registered to vote. The goal is efficiency, officials say. For towns, the national primary will mark the first time residents without an ID will have to fill out a voter affidavit and have their picture taken with a Polaroid camera. New Hampshire’s cities, including Keene, were primed during the municipal elections in November about the picture-taking component of the voter ID law enacted in 2012.
Though voter affidavits have been used in previous primaries and elections, officials were not required to take photos of voters to go along with them until last fall, according to N.H. Deputy Secretary of State David M. Scanlan. The new requirement went into effect on Sept. 1.
Voter affidavit ballots — which affirm voters are who they say they are — are used when a resident doesn’t have a legal form of photo ID, such as a drivers license, birth certificate, or passport.
Scanlan said Friday that if past trends continue, fewer than one percent of New Hampshire voters will use affidavits in the first-in-the-nation primary Feb. 9.