New Hampshire’s Senate is voting next week on whether voters must show photo identification at the polls before casting ballots, but unlike a bill vetoed last year, the latest measure does not contain a provision that would delay the counting of some votes. The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union says the bill is unnecessary but is not opposing it, and Senate Republican Leader Jeb Bradley expects the Senate to pass it to the House. “There is no need for this bill, but since something is going to pass, this is the most responsible and we believe it is constitutional,” said Claire Ebel of the civil liberties union.
Bradley said the penalty for voting illegally – a felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison – should deter most people from committing voter fraud. “Just the fact that voters are going to be asked to show an ID at the polls when they get in is going to solve 99.9 percent of potential voter fraud issues and maybe even 100 percent,” he said.
The bill is less restrictive than one Gov. John Lynch vetoed last year. That bill allowed voters who did not have valid identification to cast a provisional ballot and gave them 2 1/2 days to produce a valid photo ID. Local election clerks said the provisional ballot would be difficult and costly to administer. Ebel said that provision also was unconstitutional. The new bill does not segregate votes and count them later. “You vote just like everyone else,” she said.