New Hampshire

Articles about voting issues in New Hampshire.

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.

Full Article: Federal court bars New Hampshire from disenfranchising voters because of their handwriting..

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.

Full Article: NH officials say college students don't have standing to sue over election law | New Hampshire.

New Hampshire: State makes it tougher for students to vote. Democrats call it ‘devious’ suppression. | NBC

New Hampshire Democrats are hoping to turn the November midterm elections into a referendum on a new law barring part-time residents from voting in the state. Last week, Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, signed into law House Bill 1264, requiring students and other part-time residents to become permanent residents of the state if they want to vote. Currently, students must show they are “domiciled” in the state when they register to vote. The new law will force permanent residents to comply with laws such as state motor vehicle registration. Students with cars, for example, would have to pay for a new, in-state driver’s license and register their cars in the state, a cost critics argue could deter the historically Democratic voting bloc from the ballot box. “It’s a poll tax,” said Garrett Muscatel, a Dartmouth College student and candidate for state representative. 

Full Article: New Hampshire makes it tougher for students to vote. Democrats call it 'devious' suppression..

New Hampshire: City, town election officials sued for secretly throwing out absentee ballots if signature didn’t ‘match’ | Union Leader

Mary Saucedo was surprised to learn in 2017 that the ballot she cast in the 2016 presidential election didn’t count. The 94-year-old Manchester woman, who spent her career working for the Department of Veterans Affairs, is legally blind and for the past 12 years has voted by absentee ballot with the help of her husband. Her 2016 ballot was tossed by Saucedo’s ward moderator, who concluded that the signature on the absentee ballot application did not match the signature on the affidavit filed with the completed ballot. On Monday, Saucedo and her husband, Gus, were in U.S. District Court in Concord as attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union argued the state law allowing for ballots to be discarded under such circumstances is unconstitutional.

Full Article: City, town election officials sued for secretly throwing out absentee ballots if signature didn't 'match' | New Hampshire.

New Hampshire: Ground Zero in the War on Voting Rights | Slate

On Friday, New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu transformed his state into ground zero in the assault on voting rights. By signing HB 1264 into law, Sununu effectively imposed a poll tax on college students, compelling many of them to pay hundreds of dollars in fees to establish residence in the state before they’re permitted to vote in New Hampshire. Once it takes effect, the law is almost certain to chill the franchise of younger Democratic-leaning voters—to an extent that could swing the state’s famously close elections. But the measure’s stringent new requirements do not kick in until July 2019, giving Democrats a single opportunity to repeal it before it disenfranchises a key portion of their base. In New Hampshire, the November midterm elections won’t just determine control of the state government. It will decide whether Republicans will be successful in their years-long quest to suppress the college vote, a move that would help them further entrench their own political power. HB 1264 is the latest and most sweeping voter suppression bill passed by New Hampshire Republicans in the wake of the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton carried the state by a slim margin, as did Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, who defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte by about 1,000 votes. At the same time, Republicans retook the governorship and maintained control of the Legislature, giving them total control of the state government. They used that power to begin restricting access to the ballot under the pretext of preventing voter fraud.

Full Article: New Hampshire, HB 1264: Voters have one chance to stop the state’s poll tax on college students..

New Hampshire: Reversing course, Sununu signs voter residency bill into law | Concord Monitor

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu reversed course Friday and signed a bill imposing residency requirements on out-of-state college students who vote in New Hampshire. Current law allows students and others who consider the state their domicile to vote without being subject to residency requirements, such as getting a New Hampshire driver’s license or registering their cars. Lawmakers passed a bill this year to end the distinction between domicile and residency, but Sununu delayed action on it and asked the state Supreme Court to weigh in. The court issued a 3-2 advisory opinion Thursday saying the bill was constitutional. “House Bill 1264 restores equality and fairness to our elections,” Sununu said. “Finally, every person who votes in New Hampshire will be treated the same. This is the essence of an equal right to vote.”

Full Article: Reversing course, Sununu signs voter residency bill into law.

New Hampshire: State Supreme Court upholds constitutionality of voter residency bill | Concord Monitor

A fiercely contested bill to make residency a condition of voting in New Hampshire was determined by the state Supreme Court to be constitutional Thursday, in a major ruling that clears its approval by Gov. Chris Sununu. In a 3-2 ruling, the court found that the bill, House Bill 1264, is not a burden on the right to vote, but rather a means to better organize state laws “in order to place voters and residents on equal footing as New Hampshire citizens.” The court’s decision, which came without warning, now sets up a high-stakes choice for Sununu. On Thursday afternoon, hours after the court weighed in, the bill passed from Senate President Chuck Morse’s desk over to the governor’s office. That set in motion a constitutionally mandated five-day countdown; Sununu must decide by Tuesday whether to veto, sign or let pass without signature a law he has taken varying positions on in the last seven months. In a terse statement Thursday, Sununu declined to show his cards.

Full Article: N.H. Supreme Court upholds constitutionality of voter residency bill.

New Hampshire: Judge in New Hampshire election law dispute steps aside | Union Leader

A long-running court dispute over a controversial election reform law just got longer with the presiding judge deciding Friday to disqualify himself due to a close, personal relationship with one of the state’s lawyers. The ruling throws yet another controversy at this court battle pitting the League of Women Voters and the New Hampshire Democratic Party against Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who is defending a law meant to require voters show proof at the polls or after the election that they actually live or are domiciled in New Hampshire. Critics maintain the law known as SB 3 is meant to discourage college students, low-income and minority citizens from taking advantage of New Hampshire’s easy requirements to cast a ballot in the state.

Full Article: Judge in New Hampshire election law dispute steps aside | New Hampshire.

New Hampshire: State wants to boot professors in SB 3 lawsuit | The Nashua Telegraph

State leaders want to stop three college professors from testifying in the SB 3 lawsuit, and protect two state attorneys from having to give testimony, in ongoing litigation over the law aimed at halting voter fraud. In motions filed with the Hillsborough Superior Court in Nashua, attorneys for New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office and the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office ask the court to keep the three professors from testifying. The state is being sued by the New Hampshire Democratic Party, the League of Women Voters, and individual voters of SB 3, which introduced possible criminal penalties for people who register to vote on election day, but fail to file all the newly required paperwork within a given time period. The plaintiffs claim the law is aimed at keeping college students, and the poor from registering to vote in New Hampshire.

Full Article: State wants to boot professors in SB 3 lawsuit | News, Sports, Jobs - The Nashua Telegraph.

New Hampshire: State Supreme Court hears from 10 parties on voting rights bill | Associated Press

Ten individuals or groups have weighed in as the New Hampshire Supreme Court decides whether to consider the constitutionality of ending the state’s distinction between full-fledged residents and those who claim the state as their domicile in order to vote. Current law allows college students and others who say they are domiciled in New Hampshire to vote without being official residents subject to residency requirements, such as getting a New Hampshire driver’s license or registering a vehicle. The Legislature sent Republican Gov. Chris Sununu a bill last week to align the definitions of domicile and residency, but he wants the court to clarify whether doing so would be constitutional.

Full Article: State Supreme Court hears from 10 parties on voting rights bill.

New Hampshire: Database flags 142 possible voter fraud cases, not Trump’s ‘thousands’ | Associated Press

Fewer than 150 of the nearly 95,000 New Hampshire names flagged by a multistate voter registration database represent cases of possible fraud, the secretary of state said Tuesday. The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program is aimed at preventing voter fraud by identifying duplicate voter registration records among those voluntarily provided by states. New Hampshire was among 28 participants last year, though some states have dropped out or are re-evaluating the program amid criticism that it results in false matches and doesn’t properly protect personal information. After the 2016 general election, the system flagged 94,610 New Hampshire voters whose first and last names and dates of birth matched those in other states. That amounts to about 1 in 9 voters, but officials eliminated all but 142 of the matches after taking a closer look at middle names and other information, including the marked checklists maintained by poll workers. Of the 142, officials have sent 51 to the attorney general’s office for investigation and are waiting for information from other states on the rest, Secretary of State Bill Gardner told the Ballot Law Commission.

Full Article: N.H. database flags 142 possible voter fraud cases, not Trump’s ‘thousands’.

New Hampshire: Bill on power to delay town elections fails; secretary of state candidates react | Concord Monitor

Keep your fingers crossed for good weather next March – the New Hampshire Legislature has failed to resolve the issue of who has the authority to postpone local elections. Though state law requires towns to hold annual elections the second Tuesday in March, nearly 80 communities rescheduled their 2017 elections when a storm dumped more than a foot of snow across much of the state. That sparked widespread confusion about who has the authority to reschedule elections. But before lawmakers could agree, another storm hit this year. The Senate later passed a bill, Senate Bill 438, to give the secretary of state the final say, while the House gave authority to town moderators. A committee of conference recommended a slightly modified version of the Senate bill, but the House rejected it Wednesday.

Full Article: Update: Bill on power to delay N.H. town elections fails; secretary of state candidates react.

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.

Full Article: Court could decline Gov. Sununu's request to give advisory opinion on new election law | New Hampshire.

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.

Full Article: Sununu to seek state Supreme Court opinion on N.H. voting bill.

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.

Full Article: Voter residency bill clears House; Sununu calls for constitutional review.

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.

Full Article: AG: Send voter suit over Election Day registration to state Supreme Court | New Hampshire.

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.”

Full Article: N.H. Senate approves second voter residency bill of session; Sununu support uncertain.

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.

Full Article: No plan to enforce residency requirement for voting, even if it passes Legislature | New Hampshire.

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.

Full Article: Senate election law committee greenlights N.H. domicile voting bill along party lines.

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.”

Full Article: Judge orders Secretary of State Gardner to release NH voter data | New Hampshire.