The state Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a dispute over New Hampshire’s new voter registration law. The law, passed by the Republican-dominated Legislature over Gov. John Lynch’s veto, requires new voters to sign a statement saying that they declare New Hampshire their domicile and are subject to laws that apply to all residents, including laws requiring drivers to register cars and get a New Hampshire driver’s license. A Strafford County Superior Court judge last week sided with out-of-state college students and civil liberty groups who challenged the law and ordered the secretary of state’s office to remove the paragraph about residency laws from the voter registration form. That prompted the attorney general’s office to ask the state Supreme Court to put the lower court’s ruling on hold and to review the case itself. The high court agreed Monday and set a deadline of the end of the day Thursday for the parties to file responses.
In his ruling, Strafford County Superior Court Judge John Lewis said the wording of the new registration form was at odds with state law and would harm the rights of students who traditionally have been allowed to declare the state their domicile for voting purposes without holding legal residency. The statement doesn’t specifically require students to be residents but makes them subject to hundreds of laws involving residency.