New Hampshire’s Democratic governor vetoed a voting law passed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature today, saying it “would put into place a photo identification system that is far more restrictive than necessary.” The law would have allowed various forms of ID to be used in this November’s election, including student ID. However, only driver’s licenses, state-issued non-driver’s identification cards, passports or military IDs would be allowed in later elections. Residents without photo ID would have been able to sign an affidavit and be photographed by an election official. “We need to encourage all New Hampshire citizens to vote and to participate fully in our democracy,” Gov. John Lynch said in a veto statement. “We also need to ensure that our election laws do not unfairly burden those voters that have recently established a domicile in New Hampshire and are qualified to vote in this state.”
The veto didn’t sit well with New Hampshire House Speaker New Hampshire House Speaker William O’Brien, a conservative Republican, who said the law was needed to prevent voter fraud, even though study after study over the years has found large-scale voter fraud to be almost non-existent in the United States . “The vast majority of New Hampshire voters will be disappointed to learn that in one of his last acts on legislation, this governor has chosen to favor his party’s discrimination mythology about voters being asked for photo identification instead of supporting a common sense solution to the pressing need to ensure honest elections,” O’Brien said in his statement.
New Hampshire was one of more than a half dozen states – most of them with Republican-controlled legislatures – that have passed laws to require people to show government-approved photo ID in order to register or cast ballots. In addition, some states have passed measures to restrict or eliminate voter registration drives by third-part groups like the League of Women Voters and the NAACP; curtail or end early voting periods; and rescind voting rights of convicted felons who have served their sentences. Opponents of the new laws say they are deliberate attempts to suppress the votes of blacks, Hispanics, the elderly, younger voters, and the poor – groups that traditionally vote Democratic.