From changes in voting registration to changes to party primaries or the Electoral College, New Hampshire lawmakers are preparing a slew of bills aimed at reforming the state’s elections. In all, at least 40 bills aimed at tinkering with the state’s election laws are in the works for 2017. At least fifteen of those bills come from just one lawmaker, Representative David Bates, a Republican from Windham who has made revising the state’s voting rules a top focus in recent terms. On one side of the aisle, Bates and other Republicans have their eyes on tightening up the rules around who can vote here, but there are lots of different, sometimes diverging, paths on what that would look like.
“My two priorities are making sure, first of all, that only residents of New Hampshire vote in our elections here,” Bates says. “My other priority would be to ensure that everybody to registers and who votes in New Hampshire is required to show proof of their qualifications.”
New Hampshire election officials have said there’s no evidence to back up claims that large groups of people are voting illegally here, but Republicans pushing changes to the rules have argued the state’s existing laws allow for too much flexibility in what qualifies someone to vote here legally in the first place.
On the other side, Democrats are focusing on a different set of changes to the state’s voting systems, like introducing bills aimed at updating the technology used for different parts of the voting process.