The voter registration law known as Senate Bill 3 will stay in place through the upcoming midterms, after the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Friday overruled a lower court’s order that would have put the law on hold. The decision from the high court capped off a rollercoaster week for election officials in New Hampshire. On Monday, Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Brown ordered them to stop using Senate Bill 3 (or “SB3”) in the upcoming midterms. By Wednesday, the state said, essentially, “Not so fast.” Arguing that it was too late to make any substantial changes to the registration process and that Brown’s instructions would burden pollworkers, state election officials asked both Brown and the New Hampshire Supreme Court for permission to keep the law in place. (The opposing attorneys challenging SB3, meanwhile, called this “a thinly-veiled attempt to create a record of difficulty and confusion where there really is none” so the state could avoid compliance with Brown’s order.)
Articles about voting issues in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire: ‘It’s a poll tax’: how New Hampshire became a battlefield for voting rights | The Guardian
Among the symmetrically mown lawns and grand homes of suburban New Hampshire, Garrett Muscatel was knocking on doors to talk about a subject that took many by surprise: voter suppression. At just 20 years old, this student at Dartmouth College is vying to become the youngest member of the state’s 400-person house of representatives in November’s midterm elections. But, so he told potential voters in this precinct, what is at stake was not just the beginning of his political career but the future of democracy in the Granite state. “Hi, my name is Garrett,” he told one woman in her 60s, tending to her barking dog. “I’m a student here at Dartmouth and I’m running for office. Did you know much about laws Republicans have passed that make it harder for people like me to vote?” She hadn’t heard much. But agreed that turning up to vote, even in a heavily Democratic precinct like this one, was important in the Trump era.
New Hampshire: Judge blocks SB 3 voting law, saying it imposes ‘unreasonable, discriminatory’ burdens | WBUR
The state has been blocked from using new voter registration forms and affidavits set out in the controversial 2017 law known as Senate Bill 3 in the upcoming election by a court ruling that called the law burdensome, confusing and likely to create long lines at voting places. Superior Court Judge Kenneth Brown on Monday issued a preliminary injunction halting the state from moving forward with the provisions of the law, which was challenged shortly after it was signed last year by Gov. Chris Sununu. Brown ruled that “the burdens imposed by SB 3 are unreasonable and discriminatory.” The ruling, which was issued 15 days before the midterm election, was in favor of the plaintiffs: the League of Women Voters, the New Hampshire Democratic Party and several voters. The court said the plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits after a full-blown trial, which is expected to be held next year.
New Hampshire: Voting advocates say absentee ballot errors demonstrate flaws in system | Concord Monitor
There are ballot errors – the misspellings, typos and misalignments that can prompt last-minute changes ahead of Election Day. Then there are errors, and Stephen D’Angelo found himself on the receiving end of a major one. On Oct. 6, a Saturday, the Democratic nominee for Rockingham County District 4 received a flood of emails with alerts from supporters. The absentee ballots had been sent out to voters, the emails said, and D’Angelo’s name wasn’t on them. In the box for the Democrat in his House race, instead, was D’Angelo’s primary opponent Russell Norman, whom he had defeated in September by five votes. One Republican representative from the same five-seat district, Jess Edwards, had posted a screenshot of the ballot on a Facebook page. “I thought he was kidding,” D’Angelo, of Chester, said in an interview. “I thought it was a joke at first. I looked on the secretary of state’s website and lo and behold, it was accurate.”
New Hampshire: Deputy secretary of state says ballot errors flagged by voting group now corrected | WMUR
The progressive New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights this week called on the Ssecretary of state’s office to conduct a “full review” of ballots for the upcoming general election after finding that some incorrect absentee ballots and sample ballots were printed and distributed. WMUR has learned that on Tuesday, the New Hampshire Democratic Party went further and issued a formal election law complaint to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, requesting that “immediate action be taken to audit all ballots issued for the Nov. 6 election.” According to a statement provided by the NHDP to WMUR, “The party has also requested corrections on inaccurate ballots, that voters in receipt of inaccurate ballots be notified and issued a correct ballot, and that an investigation into the publication and distribution of ballots occur immediately.”
New Hampshire: Citing Federal Judge’s Ruling, State Tells Towns Not to Compare Absentee Voters’ Signatures | NHPR
State officials are not challenging a federal judge’s decision to strike down New Hampshire’s “signature mismatch” procedures. Instead, they have instructed pollworkers not to compare a voter’s handwriting on their absentee ballot with the handwriting used on their absentee ballot application. According to instructions sent to local election officials on Aug. 24, local moderators should move forward with counting someone’s absentee ballot as long as it belongs to a registered voter whose name appears on the local checklist, the affidavit attached to the ballot “appears to be properly executed” and “the signatures appear to be the signatures of a duly qualified voter who has not voted at the election.”
More than a dozen lawyers are setting up shop in the Hillsborough Superior Court-North in Manchester for the next two weeks for the preliminary injunction hearing on the controversial voter residency law commonly known as SB 3. Judge Kenneth Brown is being asked to stop the law from taking effect until after the lawsuit against the state — brought by the New Hampshire Democratic Party, the League of Women Voters, and some individual voters — is decided in court. This could mean the law, which critics claim will dampen college voter turnout, will not be in effect for the November midterm election. Numerous witnesses are expected to testify, and the state is seeking to dig into the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s budget as part of the proceedings. Lucas Meyer, the president of the New Hampshire Young Democrats, testified Monday the state party has budgeted $150,000 to $250,000 for voter education in the wake of SB 3’s passage.
mid concerns about hacking from Russia, Iran and other countries, New Hampshire plans to spend a quarter of a million dollars in federal grant money on assessing whether its election systems are vulnerable to intruders. David Scanlan, the deputy secretary of state, said that $250,000 from the five-year grant will be used to hire a firm that will attempt to hack the election system to help identify any weaknesses. The state also plans to embed software in the election database that can recognize abnormal activity and shut it down. The state also wil monitor the “dark web” for signs the state is being discussed among hackers. “It’s kind of an ear to the ground to find if New Hampshire is being discussed in any way to give us a heads up of when a potential attempt to hack might happen,” Scanlan said of the “dark web” effort. Scanlan said there is no evidence so far that anyone has attempted to hack and get into New Hampshire’s election system.
New Hampshire: Federal court bars New Hampshire from disenfranchising voters because of their handwriting | Slate
A federal court blocked New Hampshire’s “signature mismatch” law on Tuesday, prohibiting the state from rejecting ballots on the basis of inconsistent handwriting. The court found that election officials had violated voters’ constitutional rights by tossing out their ballots due to perceived discrepancies between signatures. In 2016 alone, officials disenfranchised 275 voters for alleged signature mismatches, a disproportionate number of whom were disabled.
New Hampshire: Officials say college students don’t have standing to sue over election law | Union Leader
Six college students listed as plaintiffs in a lawsuit that challenges the Senate Bill 3 election reform bill are legally able to vote in New Hampshire and lack the standing necessary to challenge the law, New Hampshire officials said in recent court filings. The six produced proof of dormitory addresses, leases or New Hampshire driver licenses during the discovery process, when lawyers queried the opposing party about claims made in the lawsuit. Under the law, the documents are enough to prove residency for voting purposes. One of the six was registered to vote before the suit was filed; another voted twice after the suit was filed.