The first public hearings on two bills that would effectively repeal two controversial laws that many Democrats view as voter suppression measures filled a double committee room at the Legislative Office Building on Thursday. Outside the packed third-floor room, supporters waved signs saying, “Restore Voting Rights” and “Granite Stater, Granite Voter” as elected officials, citizens and lobbyists took turns telling members of the House Election Law Committee why they should either back House Bills 105 and 106 or deep six them both. Rep. Timothy Horrigan, D-Durham, who co-sponsored both bills, said they are important to his constituents because of the University of New Hampshire where he believes students will be unduly impacted by having to pay fees for licenses and car registrations to prove residency.
“The state constitution, the federal constitution and federal voting laws basically say – ‘if you live here, you can vote here,’” Horrigan told the committee.
The two bills would effectively repeal the recent Republican-led law changes to voter registration resulting from the passage of House Bill 1264 and what has become known as Senate Bill 3.
The newly proposed HB 106 amends the general statutory definitions of “resident or inhabitant” and “residence or residency” to include an intent to maintain a principal place of physical presence for the indefinite future. The bill restores language removed from the law in 2018 by HB 1264.