The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday about whether a 2012 law amending the language of voter registration forms discourages out-of-state college students and others living in the state temporarily from voting. Assistant Attorney General Stephen LaBonte told the justices the language merely clarifies that New Hampshire residents must abide by state laws requiring them to obtain driver’s licenses and register their cars in the state. Attorney Bill Christie, representing the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, urged the justices to uphold two lower-court rulings that deem the law’s language to be confusing and unconstitutionally restrictive on a person’s right to vote.
“The form clearly burdens fundamental rights in New Hampshire,” Christie said. “It would impose a poll tax in the state of New Hampshire. It would impose a fee to vote.”
Several justices noted that the form does not distinguish residents from students, military personnel and others who are “domiciled” in it but are legal residents of other states.
“This statement doesn’t make clear if you have a domicile you are entitled to vote,” Justice Carol Ann Conboy told LaBonte. “There are very few statutes that are crystal clear,” LaBonte replied, prompting laughter from the justices.