O’Brien is now the New Hampshire co-chair for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. He failed to block election-day registration and student voting, but New Hampshire Republicans did succeed in passing a new voter ID law—which will be fully implemented for the first time in Tuesday’s primary. New Hampshire is one of 16 states with new voting restrictions in place for the first presidential election cycle in 2016, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, accounting for 178 electoral votes. New Hampshire voters will be asked to show government-issued ID when they cast a ballot. Those without the required ID can still cast a regular ballot by signing an affidavit, but they will have to let poll workers take their pictures, which is raising alarms among voting-rights activists. “This is meant to intimidate people, there’s no question about that,” says Joan Flood Ashwell of the New Hampshire League of Women Voters. “It’s saying to voters, ‘We suspect you of being a criminal. It may seem to some like a mug shot,” says Devon Chaffee of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.
It could also lead to longer lines at the polls. Wait times increased by 50 percent when the voter-ID law was partially implemented, without the camera requirement, during the 2012 election, the fifth-largest increase nationwide according to the Pew Research Center. “Reports to voter protection hotlines and reports in newspapers after the election showed that at least 29 cities and towns experienced serious problems with lines,” found the New Hampshire League of Women Voters.
In May 2015, 150 election officials from every county in the state called for the camera mandate to be repealed. They wrote:
The NH polling place camera mandate is unprecedented, and we remain concerned it will create confusion among poll workers and voters leading up to Election Day, as well as create election administration problems during and after Election Day.
Towns and cities are already underfunded and our election administration budgets are already at an all-time low. Most towns will have to hire people to handle cameras while election workers and volunteers are busy with other Election Day duties. This bill will exacerbate our local budget shortfalls
No other state in the country has attempted to take photos of lawful voters at the polls. We consider this legislation unfounded, unnecessary, and untested.