New Hampshire’s primary is just five weeks away, and state election officials are anticipating record turnout. There’s something else on their minds too—this will be the first presidential primary with the state’s new voter ID law in place. The law, which passed three and a half years ago, was part of a wave of stricter voter laws pushed by Republicans across the country. How it plays out on Primary Day is still an open question. Folks like Kerri Parker, the town clerk in Meredith, have been planning for that day for a while. Parker remembers when she and other election officials got together to learn the new state voting rules.
They went through the procedure step by step. But the main direction Parker says she and her colleagues got that day: Try not to make any voters mad. “That’s what we were told by the Secretary of State’s office,” Parker says. “That you don’t want to get into a screaming match with them.”
Though New Hampshire’s voter ID law has been on the books since 2012, February 9th will the first time it will be in place for the state’s presidential primary, when many of new or infrequent voters show up. Chances are, lots of them won’t know the rules.