BY: Citizens Count
On Thursday, March 30 the New Hampshire Senate passed a bill to make voter registration laws stricter.
The bill, SB 3, explicitly excludes anyone in New Hampshire “for temporary purposes,” such as short-term workers and campaign volunteers.
If a voter moves to a new address within thirty days of an election, he or she must provide proof of the intent to stay in New Hampshire long-term. That proof could be a lease, vehicle registration, enrollment of a child at the public school, etc. The bill specifically mentions “residency at an institution of higher learning” as acceptable proof, so the bill does not intend to exclude out-of-state college students from voting.
A voter must provide this proof to the town or city clerk within ten days of the election. If the voter fails to do so, he or she may be investigated by election officials – including, potentially, a home visit.
Bill supporters argue that SB 3 will not take away the right of anyone to vote. Instead, it will protect the voters by preventing fraud.
“You don’t need a single piece of paper to show you live anywhere and you come to the polls and you vote and it counts. The disenfranchisement occurs when someone who doesn’t validly deserve to vote disenfranchises a vote of someone who did,” said Republican Senator Bob Guida.
The bill also has the support of Secretary of State Bill Gardner.
SB 3 opponents argue that the bill’s new voter registration forms are so long and complex, they are essentially an illegal literacy test to vote. They believe the law will discourage legitimate voters from attending the polls.
“This bill cynically targets the most vulnerable citizens whose lives aren't neat and tidy enough to fit Republicans' narrow idea of who should be eligible to vote in our state,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley.
Do you support SB 3? Share your opinion in the comments below.