Town and city clerks should have an easier time complying with the state’s new Voter ID law after Gov. John Lynch let Senate Bill 1354 become law Friday without his signature. The new law requires voters to present a valid photo ID to vote at the polls or be photographed and sign an affidavit saying they are who they say they are. The bill lets election officials use an existing form called a challenged voter affidavit instead of a new form to be called a qualified voter affidavit in an earlier version of the law. “The challenged form is something we’re familiar with; we’ve been using it a long time,” Nashua City Clerk Paul Bergeron said Friday. “I think it’s just a small way of helping to simply the implementation of the new process,” he said.
New Hampshire’s Democratic governor vetoed a voting law passed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature today, saying it “would put into place a photo identification system that is far more restrictive than necessary.” The law would have allowed various forms of ID to be used in this November’s election, including student ID. However, only driver’s licenses, state-issued non-driver’s identification cards, passports or military IDs would be allowed in later elections. Residents without photo ID would have been able to sign an affidavit and be photographed by an election official. “We need to encourage all New Hampshire citizens to vote and to participate fully in our democracy,” Gov. John Lynch said in a veto statement. “We also need to ensure that our election laws do not unfairly burden those voters that have recently established a domicile in New Hampshire and are qualified to vote in this state.”
New Hampshire: Voter ID plan would take effect in fall, with tighter restrictions later | NashuaTelegraph.com
A new legislative compromise would ask all voters to show a photo identification card before casting ballots in state elections starting this fall. Those voters without an ID would still be able to vote without having to fill out any additional paperwork, but a different, voter ID law would kick in after July 1, 2013. Negotiators literally split this one down the middle creating the legal scheme for 2012 the Senate wanted and then more rigorous voter ID requirements later, which was the desire of House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon.
If a voter ID bill fails to emerge from the state Legislature this year, supporters won’t have much trouble figuring out who to blame: their Republican “friends” in the House of Representatives. For perhaps lost in last week’s chaos of a Nazi salute and an insincere apology was the Republican-controlled chamber’s action on a bill to require voters to show a photo ID before getting a ballot. Specifically, it turned aside a Senate-approved bill that had earned the backing of Secretary of State William Gardner and the New Hampshire City & Town Clerks Association in favor of its own version that did not. And since Gov. John Lynch has made it clear he has no intention of permitting such a bill to pass without a veto fight – he already has won four veto showdowns over GOP-sponsored voter ID bills – every vote will count.
Next fall, thousands of students on college campuses will attempt to register to vote and be turned away. Sorry, they will hear, you have an out-of-state driver’s license. Sorry, your college ID is not valid here. Sorry, we found out that you paid out-of-state tuition, so even though you do have a state driver’s license, you still can’t vote. Political leaders should be encouraging young adults to participate in civic life, but many Republican state lawmakers are doing everything they can instead to prevent students from voting in the 2012 presidential election. Some have openly acknowledged doing so because students tend to be liberal.
Seven states have already passed strict laws requiring a government-issued ID (like a driver’s license or a passport) to vote, which many students don’t have, and 27 others are considering such measures. Many of those laws have been interpreted as prohibiting out-of-state driver’s licenses from being used for voting.
It’s all part of a widespread Republican effort to restrict the voting rights of demographic groups that tend to vote Democratic. Blacks, Hispanics, the poor and the young, who are more likely to support President Obama, are disproportionately represented in the 21 million people without government IDs. On Friday, the Justice Department, finally taking action against these abuses, blocked the new voter ID law in South Carolina.
Tough new voter identification laws have shaken up college campuses around the country, where students — one of the groups most affected by the measures — are scrambling to comply.
The new laws could also put Republicans in a bind: Even as the party has ramped up its youth outreach efforts — hoping to siphon some of the youth vote from President Barack Obama — it has also backed state-level laws that make it harder for college students to vote. The College Democrats have spoken out against the laws, but so far the College Republicans seem unconcerned. The groups’ opposing views of the laws mirror their parties’ positions: Democrats believe the laws suppress legitimate votes; Republicans insist they’re necessary to combat voter fraud. “It’s not about being a Democrat or a Republican; it’s about wanting to be able to vote,” said Alejandra Salinas, president of the College Democrats of America.
House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, has yet to decide when the House of Representatives will take up the right-to-work veto of Gov. John Lynch. That’s looking more and more like it will happen later this fall, if not just before the 2012 session begins in January.
But O’Brien does want one veto override to come up much quicker than that: Lynch’s bid to strike down legislation requiring voters to show an ID at the polls. Senate President Peter Bragdon accommodated that Friday, setting Sept. 7 as the date the Senate will take up six vetoes, including the voter ID bill.
New Hampshire: Democrats ask ‘What did voting officials know of speaker’s son’ | NashuaTelegraph.com
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley filed a Right-to-Know Law request to learn if state election officials knew House Speaker William O’Brien’s son was simultaneously registered to vote in Mont Vernon and Maine where he attended college.
“Hopefully that will help determine what exactly took place and clear up any confusion,” Buckley said Thursday. A Mont Vernon resident filed a complaint with Attorney General Michael Delaney’s office earlier this week alleging O’Brien’s wife and other election officials in that town did not follow procedures to prevent her son, Brendan, from being registered to vote in both states.
The Attorney General’s Office has been asked to investigate the handling of voter records kept in Mont Vernon, hometown of Speaker of the House William O’Brien. Town resident Joyce Cardoza filed a complaint this week after reading news reports that O’Brien’s son Brendan was registered to vote in both his hometown and in Lewiston, Maine, where he attended college and ran for public office in 2009.
Cardoza, a registered Democrat, noted that Speaker O’Brien’s wife Roxanne is one of three supervisors of the checklist who handle voter registration matters. State law requires local election officials to take specific steps to notify officials in a voter’s previous town of a change in registration.
In this case, the registration form young O’Brien filled out when he voted in Mont Vernon in November 2010 never made it to Lewiston. State law requires supervisors of the checklist to send a copy of the registration form to a voter’s previous town if it lies within New England.