On the eve of a special New Hampshire House election in Belknap County, a judge Monday took under advisement the state’s request to dismiss a lawsuit by the state Democratic Party and League of Women Voters seeking to block a new law tightening voting ID and registration requirements. Judge Charles Temple, after listening to 2-1/2 hours of arguments, promised to rule by 7 a.m. Tuesday on whether to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from taking effect while the merits of the challenge are heard in further hearings. That’s when polls open in Laconia and Belmont for a special New Hampshire House election to decide who will succeed Republican Robert Fisher, who resigned earlier this year. If Temple refuses to issue an injunction, the election will go forward using new affidavits for voters who do not have the type of “verifiable” IDs mandated in the new law, known as Senate Bill 3. But if the judge issues an injunction, it is unclear what forms will be used Tuesday for voters who do not have the proper IDs to present to voting officials. The Belknap County election would be the first to operate under the new requirements of Senate Bill 3, which went into force Friday.
Associate Attorney General Anne Edwards said Monday evening, following the hearing, “We have to see what the judge’s order says, and it is up to the judge on how he orders it. But we are having those conversations now.”
Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan, however, said that if there is a “straight injunction” with no further explanation by the judge, “we would get in touch with the polling places and tell them to revert back to the registration forms that were used prior to Sept. 8 and the domicile affidavits would be back in use.”