A bill that would require people to produce government-issued photo ID to vote in the state of New Hampshire is close to dead and several groups spent the last week lobbying state lawmakers to ensure it remains that way. The state Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on whether to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto of Senate Bill 129, the so-called Voter ID Bill.
The League of Women Voters, American Association of Retired Persons and New Hampshire City and Town Clerks Association joined forces to voice objections to the bill calling on senators to sustain the veto. All three groups held a press conference on Wednesday.
Lynch vetoed the bill in June, saying it creates a real risk that voters would be denied their right to vote, adding the state has consistently high voter turnout, no voter fraud problem and strong election laws in place.
The bill’s supporters said the requirement of a photo ID of each voter will minimize the chances of voter fraud.
Fred Kocher, N.H. state president of the AARP said the bill disenfranchises a subgroup of qualified voters by making it difficult and even impossible to cast a vote. He said senior citizens, students, people who are disabled or do not drive, and anyone who does not already have a state- or federal-issued photo ID could have their vote silenced.
But state Rep. Fred Rice, R-Hampton, who supported the legislation, said that is a mischaracterization.
“I think a lot of people are criticizing it for the wrong reasons,” Rice said. “They are saying it’s taking away people’s right to vote. It’s making sure everybody is able to vote once in each election.”
Newfields Town Clerk Sue McKinnon, who is president of the New Hampshire City and Town Clerks Association, said clerks around the state do not necessarily oppose the bill because of the requirement of a photo ID but because of the provisional ballot requirement.
The bill would require voters without proper photo identification to cast a provisional ballot and be given 2½ days to produce a valid photo ID before their vote is counted.