Proposals to change New Hampshire’s voting laws, including narrowing the definition of who is eligible to vote, are facing favorable terrain this year in the Republican-controlled Legislature. At least a dozen pieces of legislation center on ending Election Day registration, voting eligibility and giving the secretary of state more power to enforce election law. Supporters of the legislation, mainly Republicans, say the changes are necessary to ensure a fair voting process. Many of the bills are up for public hearings this week. “I’m trying to do what a lot of my citizens are asking me to do,” said Sen. Regina Birdsell, a Republican co-sponsor of legislation that would require someone to live in the state for at least 13 days before voting. But critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union and League of Women Voters, allege the changes will restrict the rights of certain people to vote. The New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights called the bills a “ploy to disengage voters from the political system.”Full Article: N.H. Mulls Changes to Voting Laws.
Students from Furman University will soon learn whether or not they can register to vote in Greenville County. Thursday, a judge heard arguments on a lawsuit claiming they were blocked from registering using their university address. “I hope that we will get a verdict quickly so we will be able to register as many people as possible in the next 36 hours,” said plaintiff, Katherine West. The clock ticks down on voter registration deadline, but for the Furman sophomore, she tried mailing in her Greenville County application more than a month ago. She says she was sent a questionnaire instead of her registration card. The list of questions is sent to inquiring college students is part of a long standing Greenville County election commission policy to determine if the student is a serious resident of the area. Now, it is at the center of a lawsuit filed against the state and the county election commissions.Full Article: Judge hears arguments in Furman student voter registration lawsuit.
Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have something in common (as strange as that sounds)—they both seem to be turning out first-time voters. But before those newly-minted participants in democracy can cast their ballots, there are a few boxes to be checked. Registration is often the first step for those voters towards casting their first-ever vote—it’s required in 49 states (North Dakota does not have voter registration). And when it comes to registering to vote, it’s all about residency. Residency requirements matter in elections. They are one of the basic requirements for voting, along with age, U.S. citizenship and other factors. While those requirements have clear yes or no answers (you either are or aren’t old enough to vote; you’re either a U.S. citizen or not) residency requirements are more complex.Full Article: The Canvass | May 2016.
Long-term expats determined to cast a ballot for the Oct. 19 election have found a way to do so — against the wishes of the Conservative government and despite a court ruling upholding their disenfranchisement. However, the method costs money, travel, and time, prompting some to argue the rules have effectively made their right to vote subject to financial ability. “Voting should not be something you must purchase,” said Natalie Chabot Roy, 38, who was raised in northern Ontario but lives in Bonney Lake, Wash. Earlier this year, the government successfully appealed a court ruling that would have allowed Canadians abroad for more than five years to keep on voting by way of a mailed “special ballot.” Nevertheless, at least one enterprising expat has already cast his ballot for the Oct. 19 election under another section of the Canada Elections Act that amounts to a barely accessible backdoor around the ban, and others are considering following suit. That section allows expats who show up in the riding in which they lived before leaving Canada to vote — if they show proof of the former residency along with accepted identification.Full Article: Long-term expats find costly 'loophole' in voting ban | Election 2015.
Myanmar has set November 8 as the date for a landmark general election, the country’s election commission said. The vote will be the first to be held under the country’s military-backed, quasi-civilian government, which has been pushing through expansive political and economic reforms since 2011, bringing the country out of decades of authoritarian rule and international isolation. It is expected to be the freest, fairest vote seen in the country, also known as Burma, since 1990, when the first multi-party election in decades was held. That election was won convincingly by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), but the country’s ruling military junta refused to recognize the results.Full Article: Myanmar elections in November: What's at stake? - CNN.com.
A bill that would require a 30-day waiting period to vote was vetoed Friday by Gov. Maggie Hassan who said the bill places unreasonable restrictions on citizens’ voting rights. The bill also attempts to better define domicile for voting as the primary residence or abode. The change would more closely align domicile with a person’s residency. “The constitutional right of all citizens to vote is the most fundamental right of our democracy, and we must always be working to ensure that people who are legally domiciled in New Hampshire are not blocked from voting,” Hassan said in her veto statement. “Senate Bill 179 places unreasonable restrictions upon all New Hampshire citizens’ right to vote in this state with an arbitrary timeline that will prevent lawful residents from taking part in the robust citizen democracy that we are so proud of in the Granite State.”Full Article: Hassan vetoes 30-day wait to vote in New Hampshire | New Hampshire.
Gov. Maggie Hassan is likely to veto legislation that would require people to live in New Hampshire for 30 days before they can vote in the state. Hassan’s office said Thursday she worries the bill will restrict people’s constitutional right to vote. The comments from her office came after a coalition of Democratic lawmakers, election workers and the American Civil Liberties Union called the bill unconstitutional. The Republican-controlled House and Senate both passed the bill earlier this year and Hassan could take action on it at any time. Besides requiring people to live in New Hampshire for 30 days before they can vote there, it outlines specific criteria election workers should evaluate when determining someone’s domicile for voting purposes, including whether the person is eligible for a resident hunting or fishing license or has a New Hampshire driver’s license.Full Article: Lawmakers, ACLU protest 30-day residency voting requirement in New Hampshire - Brattleboro Reformer.
Myanmar’s ruling party Thursday released a draft bill on changes to its junta-era constitution that could end an effective army veto on charter amendments, but still bars opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from the presidency. Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party is expected to sweep landmark elections, slated for November, but she is barred from the top job under a constitutional provision excluding those with a foreign spouse or children from the presidency. The long-awaited draft bill published in state newspaper The Mirror on Thursday kept this provision under clause 59f but, in a slight relaxation, it no longer applies the ban to those whose Myanmar national children have married foreigners. Suu Kyi’s late husband and two sons are British.Full Article: Myanmar draft charter bill still bars Suu Kyi presidency | Daily Mail Online.
A liberal group and a voting rights organization have filed a federal lawsuit challenging a host of changes Republicans have made to Wisconsin’s election laws, alleging the provisions burden black people, Latinos and Democratic-leaning voters. One Wisconsin Institute, Inc., and Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund along with a half-dozen voters filed the lawsuit Friday in Madison against the Government Accountability Board, which oversees state elections. The lawsuit says a number of provisions that have become law since Republicans took control of the Legislature in 2011 violate the federal Voting Rights Act, the First Amendment and the equal protection clause.Full Article: Voting advocates file lawsuit challenging restrictions - TwinCities.com.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court Friday unanimously struck down a 2012 state law that required voters be state residents, not just domiciled here, in order to vote. “Today’s ruling acknowledges that elections should be free, fair and accessible to all people in a democracy,” said Gilles Bissonnette, of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire (ACLU-NH). The state had appealed two lower court decisions that ruled in favor of four voters and the League of Women Voters who claimed the law violated the state constitution. “We’re reviewing the decision,” said Assistant Attorney General Stephen G. LaBonte, who represented the state. “We have no comment at this time.”Full Article: Court Strikes Down New Hampshire's Voter Residency Law.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court Friday unanimously struck down a 2012 state law that required voters be state residents, not just domiciled here, in order to vote. “Today’s ruling acknowledges that elections should be free, fair and accessible to all people in a democracy,” said Gilles Bissonnette, of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire (ACLU-NH). The state had appealed two lower court decisions that ruled in favor of four voters and the League of Women Voters who claimed the law violated the state constitution. “We’re reviewing the decision,” said Assistant Attorney General Stephen G. LaBonte, who represented the state. “We have no comment at this time.”Full Article: State's high court strikes down voter residency law | New Hampshire.
While people are wasting their time speculating about who will win the presidency more than a year from now—Can Hillary beat Jeb? Can anybody beat Hillary? Is the GOP nominee going to be Jeb or Walker?—growing dangers to a democratic election, ones that could decide the outcome, are being essentially overlooked. The three dangers are voting restrictions, redistricting, and loose rules on large amounts of money being spent to influence voters. In recent years, we’ve been moving further and further away from a truly democratic election system. The considerable outrage in 2012 over the systematic effort in Republican-dominated states to prevent blacks, Hispanics, students, and the elderly from being able to vote—mainly aimed at limiting the votes of blacks and Hispanics—might have been expected to lead to a serious effort to fix the voting system. But quite the reverse occurred. In fact, in some of the major races in 2014, according to the highly respected Brennan Center for Justice, the difference in the number of votes between the victor and the loser closely mirrored the estimated number of people who had been deprived of the right to vote. And in the North Carolina Senate race, the number of people prevented from voting exceeded the margin between the loser and the winner.Full Article: Big Dangers for the Next Election by Elizabeth Drew | The New York Review of Books.
A new effort on voter suppression has been seen in recent months: attacks on student voting by making it harder to determine residency for voting purposes. Proposed legislation in Ohio, New Hampshire, and Indiana that would limit student voting rights through amended residency standards has met varied results. At the center of the issue is the definition of residency for voter registration purposes. It seems straightforward that a person who lives in a state and considers that place her residence should be able to register to vote there. The reality, however, can be more complicated. Most states have residency standards for voting that often differ from residency for other purposes within the state, such as paying taxes or registering a motor vehicle. Whatever residency standards exist for these latter obligations, most states allow students, people working in temporary jobs, and active duty military stationed in the state to vote if they have a physical presence in the state, a place they call home, in which they have a present intent to stay. Some states, however, in an effort to discourage young voters, are trying to change these generally accepted standards.Full Article: Changing Residency Standards Attack Student Voters | Robert M. Brandon.
North Dakota: Senate strips language allowing voters to use bills, bank statements to prove residency | INFORUM
The North Dakota Senate stripped language from legislation Tuesday that would have allowed voters to use a bill, bank statement or change-of-address form to prove their residency at the polls. Sen. Nicole Poolman, R-Bismarck, said county auditors had concerns with that portion of House Bill 1333. “It isn’t difficult to have these items sent to a different address where the voter does not reside,” she said. Senators also removed language allowing an expired driver’s license as an acceptable form of voter identification.Full Article: Senate strips language allowing voters to use bills, bank statements to prove residency | INFORUM.
In a rebuke of fellow Republicans, Gov. John Kasich used his line-item veto authority today to kill language that would have targeted out-of-state college students who register to vote in Ohio to quickly obtain in-state licenses and vehicle registrations. The governor let stand a new portion of the law requiring new Ohio residents to get an updated license and registration within 30 days. But he stripped out the measure linking that provision with voting registration. The Dispatch reported today that state officials could not say how the voting requirement would have been enforced. Democrats and voting-rights activists had lobbied the governor’s office to veto the measure, contending it would discourage students from voting if they had to obtain Ohio documentation within 30 days of registering to vote.Full Article: Kasich's veto removes voting target for out-of-state college students | The Columbus Dispatch.
Ohio: Kasich vetoes transportation budget language that critics said would deter voting | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday vetoed some provisions tucked into the transportation budget bill that critics had predicted would deter out-of-state college students from voting in Ohio. But the governor let stand a 30-day time limit by which anyone who declares Ohio residency must re-register their cars and get a new driver’s license. A provision that listed registering to vote among several acts of declaring residency in the state had triggered criticism. Under the vetoed language, failure to re-register an out-of-state car and get a new driver’s license would have resulted in loss of all driving privileges in Ohio and open the driver to a minor misdemeanor charge and a fine.Full Article: Gov. John Kasich vetoes transportation budget language that critics said would deter voting | cleveland.com.
New Hampshire: House asks court to review bill requiring voters to abide by motor vehicle requirements | Associated Press
The New Hampshire House of Representatives is asking the state Supreme Court to weigh in on a bill requiring people registering to vote — including out-of-state students or military personnel — to also register their cars and obtain drivers’ licenses in New Hampshire. The request for an advisory opinion was made in writing Wednesday and made public by the court Thursday.Full Article: House asks court to review bill requiring voters to abide by motor vehicle requirements.
State lawmakers propose a new form of voter identification for college students. The bill sponsored by Senator Ray Holmberg would include student identification cards as a form of voter ID. The cards would need to include a student’s photo, date of birth and address. Currently, students can obtain a student ID certificate from their university to present at the polls as proof of residency. Holmberg says he’s proposing the measure after hearing stories of confusion among students this past election.Full Article: Lawmakers Consider Voter ID Proposal - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND.
John Kennedy O’Hara spent most of 2003 picking up garbage in city parks and cleaning public toilets as part of his sentence for illegal voting in Brooklyn. Also, he had to pay a fine and restitution amounting to $15,192. His supposed crime was that he registered to vote using the address of a girlfriend on 47th Street in Sunset Park, where he claimed to live part of the time. But he also maintained a residence 14 blocks away. While this sounds like pretty serious punishment for virtually nothing — the state election laws are so remarkably elastic on matters of residency that a former head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party was actually living in Queens during his reign — we cannot be sure if Mr. O’Hara got more than his unfair share. There are, after all, very few people to compare him with. Practically no one. It appears that the last person to be convicted of illegal voting in New York State before Mr. O’Hara was the abolitionist and suffragist Susan B. Anthony, who cast a ballot in Rochester in 1872, flagrantly disregarding that she was a woman and therefore not allowed to do so. She was not sentenced to pick up garbage in the parks, but was fined $100. She never paid.Full Article: Man Seeks to Turn Tables on Officials in Voter Fraud - NYTimes.com.
An attorney for former Secretary of State Charlie White faced tough questioning Tuesday from Indiana’s three-judge appeals court during White’s latest bid to overturn the voter fraud convictions that forced him from office. Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik interrupted attorney Andrea Ciobanu only seconds after the attorney began her oral arguments and asked Ciobanu what her “strongest argument” was in White’s appeal of his convictions on six felony counts. Ciobanu said her most substantial argument in seeking to overturn White’s 2012 convictions is that the trial court in central Indiana’s Hamilton County failed to apply Indiana’s residency statute “at all” as his case played out. She said that left White unable to convey to jurors where his actual place of residence was as they heard evidence and eventually convicted him on three counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury and one count of theft.Full Article: Court hears ex-Indiana elections chief's appeal - TheIndyChannel.com.