A long-running court dispute over a controversial election reform law just got longer with the presiding judge deciding Friday to disqualify himself due to a close, personal relationship with one of the state’s lawyers. The ruling throws yet another controversy at this court battle pitting the League of Women Voters and the New Hampshire Democratic Party against Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who is defending a law meant to require voters show proof at the polls or after the election that they actually live or are domiciled in New Hampshire. Critics maintain the law known as SB 3 is meant to discourage college students, low-income and minority citizens from taking advantage of New Hampshire’s easy requirements to cast a ballot in the state.
In a 13-page decision, Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Charles Temple said stepping aside or recusing himself from being further involved in this lawsuit is the right choice.
Temple’s conflict is his association with Bryan Gould, a Concord lawyer who the state of New Hampshire has brought on to help defend the lawsuit. A former legal counsel to the Republican State Committee, Gould is widely viewed as a constitutional and election law expert.
But Temple said the two families have been too close for him to remain involved. “It’s a long-term relationship. I would say it began, oh well, over 20 years ago,” Temple revealed.