As the state draws closer to enacting a residency requirement for voting, one question remains unanswered: How would the obligation to obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license and vehicle registration after voting be enforced? No one seems to know. The Secretary of State’s office says “check with the Division of Motor Vehicles,” while the DMV says, not our problem. More precisely, here’s what David Scanlan, the deputy secretary of state for elections, had to say when asked how the state would verify that non-residents followed the law after declaring themselves as New Hampshire residents for the purpose of voting.
“Your question relative to how the state would enforce residency requirements under motor vehicle laws would be best asked of the Department of Safety, Division of Motor Vehicles,” said Scanlan. “There is no requirement in election laws to report the names of new voters to the DMV. I am not aware of any statute that requires cross-enforcement of motor vehicle and election laws.”
According to Department of Safety spokesman Michael Todd, passage of new laws defining residency will have “no impact on DMV operations.”
Two bills that say essentially the same thing are now in front of lawmakers. HB 372 and HB 1264 define residency and tie it to voting in a way that backers of the bills hope will survive the inevitable court challenges.