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.Full Article: Statehouse Hearing To Redefine Residency For Voting Draws Crowd Of Opponents | New Hampshire Public Radio.
Articles about voting issues in New Hampshire.
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.Full Article: Valley News - Dozens Testify on N.H. Voter Bill.
Another aspect of New Hampshire election law is going to court: The ACLU-NH is suing over town moderators’ ability to reject absentee ballots if they have doubts about the signature, without telling the voter. At issue is state law RSA 659:50, which allows moderators to reject absentee ballots if they don’t believe “the signature on the affidavit appears to be executed by the same person who signed the application” for voting by absentee ballot, “unless the voter received assistance because the voter is blind or has a disability.” In a brief filed in U.S. District Court in Concord, the ACLU says that during the 2016, 2014, and 2012 elections, this law “disenfranchised approximately 275, 145, and 350 voters, respectively.”Full Article: ACLU-NH sues over law that lets moderators toss absentee ballots.
New Hampshire: Secretary of State tells towns: No, you can’t delay elections even if it snows a lot | Concord Monitor
Just in case any town moderators were looking at the weather forecast and beginning to worry, Secretary of State Bill Gardner has some advice for them: Don’t even think about canceling elections. “New Hampshire law does not contain a provision that authorizes any public official to postpone an election,” Gardner wrote in a March 6 memo, which provides guidance on a variety of issues as New Hampshire heads into town meeting season. The notice comes in the wake of last year’s confusion when a huge nor’easter caused moderators in 73 communities to postpone ballot voting on March 14, 2017, the traditional Election Day on the second Tuesday in March.Full Article: N.H. tells towns: No, you can’t delay elections even if it snows a lot.
New Hampshire: New Hampshire Not Among States Seeking Cybersecurity Help Ahead of 2018 Elections | NHPR
With its paper ballots and in-person registration requirements, New Hampshire’s voting system is less digitally wired — and therefore somewhat less susceptible to cyberattacks — than many of its peers. But this state, like all others, also maintains an online database with personal information on all of its registered voters. Federal security officials have offered to scan these systems for possible vulnerabilities as part of a broader package of “cyber-hygiene” efforts ahead of the 2018 elections, but New Hampshire election officials have said no thanks. More than 30 states have reportedly partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to safeguard their systems against hacking in advance of this year’s midterm elections. At this point, New Hampshire isn’t one of them — and the state’s elections officials remain wary of allowing the federal government to in any way encroach on their autonomy when it comes to voting procedures.Full Article: N.H. Not Among States Seeking Cybersecurity Help Ahead of 2018 Elections | New Hampshire Public Radio.
New Hampshire officials on Tuesday urged a judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a state law that requires additional documentation from voters who move to the state within 30 days of an election, suggesting it wasn’t harming anyone. The state Democratic Party and the League of Women Voters filed lawsuits against the state last year, claiming the SB3 law was confusing, unnecessary and intimidating. A judge in September allowed the law to take effect but blocked penalties of a $5,000 fine and a year in jail for fraud and said further hearings were necessary. The lawsuits have since been consolidated.Full Article: Judge considering request to dismiss voter rights lawsuit | The Herald.
New Hampshire: Alternative voting, math oversight of redistricting shot down by House committee | Concord Monitor
Amid all the high-profile discussion of possible changes to New Hampshire election laws and processes, a trio of less-mainstream proposals were shot down Tuesday. One of them would have used mathematics to draw legislative districts, and the other two would allow people to vote for more than one candidate, showing their ballot preference by systems other than the traditional process. All three were marked as inexpedient to legislate by sweeping votes in the House Election Law Committee, which makes their demise in the full House likely. Under one bill, House Bill 1666, a calculation known as efficiency gap analysis would have been applied to statewide districts in New Hampshire after the next redistricting in 2021. If the analysis found problems, “the redistricting for that elected body shall be deemed to be gerrymandered and therefore not valid” and the districts redrawn before the next election. It was unanimously voted as ITL by the 20-person committee.Full Article: Alternative voting, math oversight of redistricting shot down by N.H. House committee.
New Hampshire’s Republican-controlled Legislature is again considering measures that would affect voter registration and the casting of ballots, even though the most recent change to the state’s election law remains in limbo in court. Under a law that took effect last year, voters who move to the state within 30 days of an election are required to provide proof that they intend to stay. But after Democrats and the League of Women Voters sued, a judge blocked penalties included in the law and said further hearings are necessary. Meanwhile, Republicans are pressing ahead with legislation they argue will help restore confidence in elections and prevent fraud, while opponents say the goal is to prevent certain groups of people from voting.Full Article: NH Republicans push for more voting restrictions.
New Hampshire: Online Voter Registration in New Hampshire? Secretary of State’s Open to Studying It | NHPR
New Hampshire is one of about a dozen remaining states that doesn’t allow online voter registration — but a bill introduced this year could change that. Similar proposals surfaced in 2016 and 2017, but neither gained traction — in part, because they lacked buy-in from the Secretary of State’s office. Now, Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan said they’re open to the idea, but they want the proposal to go through a study committee for more consideration first.Full Article: Online Voter Registration in N.H.? Secretary of State's Open to Studying It | New Hampshire Public Radio.
From the beginning of its brief, nonillustrious existence, Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission had a special connection to New Hampshire. Trump launched the commission to justify his claim that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election, many of them in the Granite State. He placed New Hampshire’s Democratic Secretary of State Bill Gardner on the panel to give the group a phony patina of bipartisanship. The commission also traveled to the state for its second and last meeting, an acrimonious affair during which co-chairman Kris Kobach defended his false allegation that thousands of illegal votes swung the vote in New Hampshire in 2016.Full Article: Meet Bud Fitch, New Hampshire’s new vote fraud czar..
The idea of using mathematical algorithms to determine whether electoral districts are fair has gained notable traction in the past year, including a Jan. 9 federal court ruling that used math to call North Carolina congressional districts biased. Now a lawmaker wants to bring the process to New Hampshire. Under a proposed bill, House Bill 1666, a process known as efficiency gap analysis would be applied to statewide districts in New Hampshire after the next redistricting in 2021. If the analysis finds problems, “the redistricting for that elected body shall be deemed to be gerrymandered and therefore not valid” and the districts redrawn before the next election. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jerry Knirk, D-Freedom, who argues that the method would help all elected officials.Full Article: Bill wants math to guide New Hampshire’s political redistricting.
New Hampshire: Senate Democrats push for New Hampshire withdrawal from voter database program | Concord Monitor
Senate Democrats are taking aim at New Hampshire’s participation in the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, pressing for the state to pull out of a system they say is deeply flawed. At a Senate election law committee hearing Tuesday on a withdrawal bill, Democrats and voting advocacy groups argued that the program – in which about 30 states share voter information to prevent double-voting across state lines – is inaccurate and insecure. First initiated by the Kansas secretary of state in 2005, Crosscheck requires participating states to send voter registration data to the Kansas office, which then collates the names in a database. Any records sent to the office that match the first name, last name and birthday of a registered voter in another state are then sent back to both states, allowing them to examine the records and determine whether the voter is still a resident there.Full Article: Senate Dems push for N.H. withdrawal from voter database program.
A bill that redefines the state’s residency standards passed the Senate with Republican support — despite opposition from Gov. Chris Sununu — and is heading back to the House for further review.
The latest version of HB372 says that to be considered a resident, for voting or otherwise, someone needs to demonstrate an intent to stay in New Hampshire through all of their actions — they can’t just say they plan to be here “for the indefinite future.”
Supporters, including Sen. Andy Sanborn, a Bedford Republican running for Congress, described it as a move to bring more integrity to the state’s elections.
“The Secretary of State himself has said we have a trust issue in our state, and we need to fix that, because we need to make sure that every vote counts,” Sanborn said.
Senate Democrats argued forcefully against the bill, saying it would disenfranchise college students or other more transient voters. Several also argued that HB372 could have unintended consequences for other regulations tied to residency status, like college tuition or motor vehicle laws.
“We’re not just looking at where somebody is a resident or where they actually live with respect to the voting laws,” Sen. Donna Soucy said. “If we were doing that, we would only be amending the voting laws.”N.H. Senate Passes Bill to Redefine 'Residency' for Voting | New Hampshire Public Radio.
New Hampshire: State Senate OK’s residency definition for voting; Sununu remains opposed | Union Leader
The state Senate in a 14-9 party-line vote on Wednesday passed HB 372, establishing a new definition of residency that the bill’s supporters hope will pass legal muster and set the stage for enforcement of the bill’s purpose statement: “A person must be a resident of New Hampshire to vote or hold office in New Hampshire.” The bill was substantially changed from the version that passed the House last year, and will have to go back to the House as amended by the Senate. The House version contained only the change in definition. The purpose statement was added by the Senate.Full Article: State Senate OK's residency definition for voting; Sununu remains opposed | New Hampshire.
Gov. Chris Sununu said he would “never support” any legislation that could potentially curtail college students’ ability to vote in New Hampshire. Last week, Sununu said he “hates” HB 372, which would tighten the legal definitions of a resident, inhabitant and residence or residency by eliminating the language in the law that considers residents domiciled in the state if they have demonstrated they will be staying in New Hampshire “for the indefinite future.” “I’m not a fan. I hope that the Legislature kills it,” Sununu said to Ben Kremer of the New Hampshire Youth Movement in a video posted to YouTube. “I will never support anything that suppresses the student right to vote.”Full Article: Sununu opposes GOP bill that could curtail college student voting.
Gov. Chris Sununu remained opposed to a new Republican voting reform bill Wednesday following a meeting with the leading proponent of the controversial measure, a spokesman told WMUR. Sununu met with state Sen. Regina Birdsell, R-Hampstead, who chairs the Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs Committee, to discuss Birdsell’s amendment to House Bill 372, which would essentially require someone to be a resident of the state, as opposed to someone who is merely domiciled in the state, in order to vote or run for office. The bill makes the change by changing definitions to make the terms “resident,” “inhabitant” and “domicile” consistent. The bill would change the eligibility requirements for voting and running for office in the state and would mean that students and others who claim New Hampshire as a domicile but are residents of other states could no longer vote in New Hampshire.Full Article: Sununu opposition to new GOP voting bill unchanged after meeting with sponsor.
A showdown over residency and voting rights is expected to begin when the New Hampshire Senate reconvenes in January. The state Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs Committee approved an amendment to a retained bill, which passed the House of Representatives in the last session, and would tighten the legal definitions of “resident, inhabitant and residence or residency.” The move is expected to pit Senate Democrats who consider the bill an infringement on voting rights against Republicans who claim it eliminates the legal gray area surrounding domiciled citizens.Full Article: Fight looming in NH Senate over voting rights.
Hanover-area officials are sounding the alarm over a bill they say would discourage New Hampshire college students from out of state from voting here. The Senate bill, which would require voters to seek residency in order to vote, would place unnecessary hurdles between students and the ballot box, according to opponents. But supporters counter that if passed, the law would clarify state election laws, and do a better job of vetting who is allowed onto the voter rolls. “I’m continually disappointed and frustrated, of course, by what I see as a nasty attempt to suppress voting, especially of college students,” said state Sen. Martha Hennessey, D-Hanover, on Wednesday.Full Article: Valley News - Critics Say Bill Targets Students.
A late amendment to a bill that would limit voting to New Hampshire residents passed a Senate committee Tuesday, setting the stage for a new political battle in the Legislature next session over voting requirements. The proposed change would require residency in the state, setting a higher bar for eligibility than present election law, which requires only that voters be “domiciled.” Democrats were quick to condemn the move, calling it an attempt to suppress voting that would effectively target college students. Under current law, being domiciled means physically occupying a space in the state “more than any other place.” Residency carries stronger burdens of proof, such as utility bills or rental, and one of the consequences of declaring residency is that new residents must register their cars in New Hampshire and get state-issued driver’s licenses.Full Article: Amendment would raise bar for voting eligibility in New Hampshire.
A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a controversial new voter registration law is heading to trial next August, according to a recent court order. The law in question, known commonly as Senate Bill 3, adds tougher penalties for people who fail to provide certain kinds of documentation showing they live where they’re trying to vote.Full Article: Lawsuit Challenging N.H.'s Proof-of-Residence Voting Law Slated for Trial | New Hampshire Public Radio.