New Hampshire

Articles about voting issues in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire: Court could decline Gov. Sununu’s request to give advisory opinion on new election law | Union Leader

Gov. Chris Sununu is preparing to ask the state Supreme Court for an advisory opinion on a controversial new election law, but the court has dodged such questions in the recent past. The governor announced on Tuesday that he plans to bring a late item to the Executive Council today asking the council to adopt a resolution regarding HB 1264, the bill defining residency as a condition for voting. Supporters say the bill will help ensure that only New Hampshire residents vote in state elections, while opponents say it will suppress the vote of college students and others living in the state on a temporary basis, but still entitled to vote here. The bill has cleared the House and Senate, and is awaiting Sununu’s signature. Read More

New Hampshire: Sununu to seek state Supreme Court opinion on voting bill | Concord Monitor

Gov. Chris Sununu says he still has deep concerns over a bill to make voting an effective declaration of residency. But resolving them could come down to the state Supreme Court. In a late agenda item submitted ahead of Wednesday’s Executive Council meeting, Sununu requested that the court weigh in on the constitutionality of House Bill 1264, a proposal to merge the definitions of “domicile” and “residency” for the purposes of voting. The move, anticipated last week, would ask that the court weigh in on whether the controversial bill would violate the state or federal constitutions. But it will need Executive Council approval to move ahead to the Supreme Court clerk’s desk. Read More

New Hampshire: Voter residency bill clears House; Sununu calls for constitutional review | Concord Monitor

A bill merging the definitions of “resident” and “domiciled” person for voting purposes is heading to Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk after a House vote Thursday, but the governor wants to send it to the courts to review its legality. In a 182-156 vote, the House voted to concur with the final version of House Bill 1264, sending the bill into the enrollment process and setting up a tough political ultimatum for Sununu. The bill, which would effectively make voting in New Hampshire a declaration of residency, has been praised by supporters as a means to clarify New Hampshire’s law and bring it into line with other states. But critics have said that incorporating residency into the voting process could impose eventual car registration costs that could act as a “poll tax” and deter some from the polls. In a secretly recorded video released in December, Sununu appeared to share those concerns, telling a young activist that he “hated” the bill and raising worries that it could suppress the vote and be found unconstitutional in the courts. Read More

New Hampshire: Attorney General: Send voter suit over Election Day registration to state Supreme Court | Union Leader

The attorney general wants the state Supreme Court to take over the lawsuit filed by the state Democratic Party and the N.H. League of Women Voters over a new election law, Senate Bill 3, which establishes requirements for Election Day voter registration. The key issue is an April decision by Superior Court Judge Charles Temple ordering the state to turn over its voter registration database to the plaintiffs, who say they need the data to make their case. “The court exceeded its authority in ordering the release of the (database), and has put in jeopardy the privacy rights of over a million active and inactive New Hampshire registered voters,” according to the motion filed by Associate Attorney General Anne Edwards, representing the state in support of the law. Read More

New Hampshire: Senate approves second voter residency bill of session; Sununu support uncertain | Concord Monitor

The New Hampshire Senate approved the second bill of the session intended to equate voting in the state with residency, acting on party-lines despite lingering uncertainty over the governor’s support. House Bill 1264, which passed, 14-10, is near-exact replica of an earlier bill, House Bill 372, dealing with the definition of residency. Both bills would merge the meaning of the words “domiciled” person and “resident” for the purposes of election law, effectively turning those who vote into de facto residents. Republican supporters have said that the bills would bring New Hampshire in line with all other states, which require residency in order to vote. Democrats have fiercely opposed the move, saying it would target college students who for years have been regarded “domiciled” in New Hampshire and allowed to vote here, but are not fully residents. Merging the definitions could require college students and other temporary workers to register their vehicles in the state after voting, a change critics have labeled a “poll tax.” Read More

New Hampshire: No plan to enforce residency requirement for voting, even if it passes Legislature | Union Leader

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. Read More

New Hampshire: Senate election law committee greenlights domicile voting bill along party lines | Concord Monitor

One of two controversial bills to change the definition of “domicile” for voting purposes cleared a Senate committee Tuesday, heading to the Senate floor next for a make-or-break vote. In a 3-2, party-line vote, members of the Senate election law committee voted to recommend the bill, House Bill 1264, be passed by the full chamber. The bill would merge the definitions of “domiciled” people and “residents” for the purpose of voting, which supporters say will clear up confusion and bring New Hampshire’s process in line with other states. Democrats and other critics, meanwhile, say that combining the definitions will require those who vote to be residents, subjecting college students and other temporary residents to car registration fees and driver’s license requirements. Currently, voters are required only to be “domiciled,” meaning they spend a majority of their time in the state; adding residency could create a de facto poll tax in registration fees, critics allege. Read More

New Hampshire: Judge orders Secretary of State Gardner to release voter data | Union Leader

A superior court judge has ordered Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s office to turn over the state’s electronic voter database to parties who have charged a 2017 voter registration law restricts the right to vote and is unconstitutional. Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Charles Temple further ordered state prosecutors and Gardner’s office to turn over email and other communication state officials had with lawmakers during and after they crafted the so-called SB 3 that’s under review. Lawyers for the state maintained the voter database had an “absolute statutory privilege” and could not be disclosed to third parties. But Temple said that while the database is exempt from the Right-to-Know Law that “does not create a statutory privilege against nondisclosure in the course of civil litigation.” Read More

New Hampshire: Statehouse Hearing To Redefine Residency For Voting Draws Crowd Of Opponents | NHPR

A proposal to change New Hampshire’s residency laws as a way to tighten voting eligibility drew hours of testimony, most of it in opposition, before the Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs Committee on Thursday. The original venue for the hearing wasn’t nearly large enough to hold everyone who wanted to testify. People packed into the Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs committee room like sardines, with more overflowing down the hall. At one point, a security officer was called in to keep the crowd under control. Initially, Sen. Regina Birdsell, the election law committee chair, tried to go forward with the hearing without relocating because it didn’t seem like an alternative space was available. But it wasn’t long before her colleague, Democratic Senator Jeff Woodburn, objected. Read More

New Hampshire: Dozens Testify on New Hampshire Voter Bill | Valley News

Dartmouth College students and Hanover’s town clerk joined scores of New Hampshire voters and advocates on Tuesday to testify on HB 1264, a bill that has sparked controversy over claims that it would tie motor registration fees and other obligations associated with residency to participation in elections. A simple proposed tweak to the state’s definition of a legal resident has fueled a debate over the merits of voting by students who grew up out-of-state but now attend college in New Hampshire. Advocates say the measure would simplify statutory terms and protect the integrity of elections, whereas opponents call it a “poll tax” that would suppress the vote through unnecessary fees. Read More