Gov. John Lynch on Thursday vetoed a bill that would require voters to show a photo ID or sign a qualified voter affidavit, setting up a showdown with legislators next week. Using a qualified voter affidavit shouldn’t be used to establish a voter’s identity to vote and “will cause confusion, slow the voting process and may result in the inability of eligible voters to cast their vote,” Lynch wrote in his veto message for Senate Bill 289. Handicapping next week’s vote to override the governor’s veto, Rep. David Bates, R-Windham, said, “I think it’s entirely up to the Senate at this point.” Sen. Russell Prescott, R-Kingston, said he would push for the Senate next week to pass a corrections bill to satisfy the governor’s concern by substituting the use of the qualified voter affidavit with a simpler challenged voter affidavit, which is now used to challenge a person’s qualifications to vote. A corrections bill, if approved by the Senate, would go to the House for a vote and on to the governor to sign or veto, he said.
To override the governor, a two-thirds vote is required in both the House and Senate. Without the corrections bill, Prescott said he wouldn’t support the override and didn’t know if the Senate would either. Sixteen votes are needed and 17 senators backed the measure at the last vote. Bates said he was confident the House would override the governor. “The question is whether these late-breaking objections are going to turn any of the senators away,” Bates said. “There’s nothing in the governor’s veto message that is going to sway any of the House members. It just remains to be seen what the Senate is going to do.”