Compromise legislation to reform New Hampshire’s year-old voter ID law passed the Republican-led Senate and the Democratic-led House yesterday, as a last-ditch effort by conservative Republicans to block the bill fell short. The bill now goes to Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who indicated she will sign it into law. “The governor continues to believe that the voter identification law enacted by the previous Legislature was misguided and should be fully repealed, but she appreciates that the compromise reached by the Legislature will save local communities the burden of costs for cameras, prevent long lines at the polls and alleviate confusion about permissible forms of identification,” said spokesman Marc Goldberg in a statement.
The voter ID law enacted in 2012 included several changes that will take effect this September, including a shorter list of acceptable forms of ID and a requirement that voters without an ID, who already must fill out an affidavit, be photographed by election workers as well.
But under a compromise worked out last week by negotiators from the House and Senate, student IDs will remain valid forms of identification at the polls, voters 65 and over will be able to use expired driver’s licenses to vote and the photo-taking requirement will be delayed until 2015.
The plan won praise from the New Hampshire College Republicans and the New Hampshire Young Democrats. But some on the right condemned the deal – Cornerstone Action, for example, called it “nothing short of deplorable.”