New Hampshire: Is an automated vote count good enough? State, parties to petition disagree | The Keene Sentinel

Not all debates have clearly drawn lines. In the matter of assuring an accurate vote count in citizen elections, the end goal is unequivocal. But the views of how this is achieved can — and in this region and in the state do — vary. Despite hopes to the contrary of 60 petitioners calling for mandatory but limited hand-count audits of votes in Keene immediately following elections, neither the city nor the Secretary of State’s Office can authorize such a thing, according to officials with the office. Only the state Legislature can, officials say — and it has failed to do so at least twice. The Keene City Council in September accepted a petition put forward by Gerhard F. Bedding, Cheshire County Commissioner Charles F. “Chuck” Weed, D-Keene, and others as informational, a move that requires no action.

New Hampshire: Potential roadblock for Bernie Sanders rises in New Hampshire | CNN

Sen. Bernie Sanders is a political independent, who proudly calls himself a socialist. As he declared his presidential candidacy Thursday, he pledged to run on the Democratic ticket. He could hit an early roadblock in New Hampshire — not with Hillary Clinton, but William Gardner, who has guarded the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary for four decades as Secretary of State. He said he isn’t sure whether Sanders meets the state’s requirement to be on the presidential ballot. “If they’re going to run in the primary, they have to be a registered member of the party,” Gardner told CNN. “Our declaration of candidacy form that they have to fill out says ‘I am a registered member of the party.'”

New Hampshire: Guardian of New Hampshire’s presidential primary ready for another round | Reuters

As New Hampshire braces for another wave of White House hopefuls next year seeking votes in the first-in-the-nation nominating primary, much of the credit for the state’s hold on that position goes to one man: Secretary of State William Gardner. For the past four decades, Gardner has outmaneuvered states including Florida and Nevada to protect the front-runner spot mandated by New Hampshire law – and it has not always been easy. The state has steadily moved forward its primary, originally held in March. It shoe-horned the past two contests into January. Ask Gardner when the 2016 primary, which marks the 100th anniversary of the event, will be held and he smiles, careful not to limit his options. “I have never set the date and then changed it,” said Gardner, 66. “I wait until I feel it’s safe to do it and then I do it.” But the early January primaries of 2008 and 2012 were unpopular with Democratic and Republican officials, who worried that Americans were paying more attention to holiday parties than to candidates barnstorming New Hampshire and Iowa, whose citizens kick off nominating season with caucuses.

New Hampshire: ‘Domicile’ vs. ‘resident’: a matter of ballot access | New Hampshire Business Review

Secretary of State William Gardner recently made public comments that threaten the fundamental right to vote held by citizens who live in New Hampshire and call this state home. The secretary suggested that only citizens who meet the legal definition of “resident” under state law should be able to vote. He added that the Granite State permits “drive-by” voter fraud. Respectfully, he’s wrong. Gardner’s view that voting should be reserved for those who meet the definition of “resident” under state law would, if enacted, deprive the right to vote to thousands of citizens who call New Hampshire home. His position also violates Part I, Article 11 of the state constitution and has repeatedly been rejected by courts for more than 40 years. Just recently, the secretary’s view was rejected by two separate judges in a case challenging a controversial 2012 law that changed the state’s voter registration form to deliberately suppress voting rights. In striking down the registration form that the secretary supported, the superior court ruled in July that the form’s equating of legal “residency” with the right to vote is an “unreasonable description of the law” that would cause a chilling effect on voting rights.

New Hampshire: State faces lawsuit over new election law | New Hampshire Union Leader

The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union is suing the state over a new law that it says will stack the deck against third parties trying to gain ballot access. The lawsuit, filed July 22 on behalf of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire, challenges a requirement that nomination papers for a political organization “be signed and dated in the year of the election.” It compresses the time frame to collect these signatures and poses a hindrance for the Libertarian Party to compete, according to Gilles Bissonnette, staff attorney for the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. “This law strips away voter choice,” he said in an interview.

New Hampshire: State to get a voter bailout from feds | NEWS06

New Hampshire deserves a “bailout” from federal oversight under the Voting Rights Act, a three-judge panel in Washington D.C. has ruled. “Finally, we’re done with this,” Secretary of State William Gardner said Saturday night. The court approved the bailout on March 1, one day after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of that very section of the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 of the VRA requires jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to get all changes to their election laws “pre-cleared” by the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal court in D.C. New Hampshire found itself under that requirement in the 1960s, in part because the state had a literacy test on the books back then. Ten communities were singled out because of supposedly low voter registration and turnout.

New Hampshire: Video alleges voter fraud in New Hampshire | Union Leader

The New Hampshire Attorney General has launched a comprehensive review of state voting procedures, after people obtained ballots of dead voters during the presidential primary on Tuesday. No fraudulent votes were actually cast. But in nine instances, clerks readily handed over ballots after a would-be voter implied he was the city resident, recently deceased, still listed on the voter checklist, according to a video posted on the Internet. After receiving the ballot, the person departed without voting.

New Hampshire: Lynch vetoes bill requiring photo ID at polls | New Hampshire NEWS06

Gov. John Lynch vetoed a bill Monday that requires all voters to present photo identification at the polls in order to cast a ballot. Lynch said the bill, Senate Bill 129, “creates a real risk that New Hampshire voters will be denied their right to vote.

“Voter turnout in New Hampshire is among the highest in the nation, election after election. There is no voter fraud problem in New Hampshire. We already have strong elections laws that are effective in regulating our elections,” Lynch said. The House and Senate can override Lynch’s veto, if leaders can garner two-thirds majorities. A session to deal with vetoes is expected in the fall.