“Trust, but verify,” she said. “We trust you, but we want you to bring in proof.” The second-term Hampstead Republican, who chairs the Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs Committee, shared with WMUR.com the basics of her long-awaited amendment to Senate Bill 3 Thursday. “My constituents have been clamoring for this,” she said. Her bill requires that anyone who registers to vote within 30 days of an election, or on Election Day, present definitive proof of residency in the state. Those who do not can still vote but would be required to provide proof of residency to town and city clerks no more than 10 or 30 days after the election, depending on where they live. It’s a shorter turnaround requirement than under current law, and the follow-up provision in her bill would allow police on routine patrol to visit a home to seek proof of residency from the voter. Election law reform has been among the biggest issues at the State House this year in the aftermath of the 2016 election. It was drawing the attention of Gov. Chris Sununu and lawmakers even before President Donald Trump put New Hampshire in the national spotlight two weeks ago by making an unsubstantiated claim that that thousands of people were bused into the state from Massachusetts and voted illegally.
Dozens of bills addressing state election laws were filed, most of them in the House. But several key House bills have been recently put on hold while state Senate Republicans, led by Birdsell, work on what has been described as an all-encompassing, or omnibus, plan. Also put hold was a separate Senate bill to put into place a 13-day residency requirement.
Birdsell said that a final draft of her amendment will not be available until the week of March 6, after lawmakers return from a recess next week.
Outlining the plan in a State House interview, she said her bill would continue the existing practice of allowing people who do not show positive photo IDs at polling places to fill out and provide election officials with an affidavit swearing that they are domiciled in New Hampshire. But she said her bill is different than current law because it requires those voters to provide proof that they are domiciled in the state, and do so promptly.