Over the years the New Hampshire Legislature has proposed many bills aimed at tightening voter regulations. This year, one of those bills is SB 3, which adds new requirements for voter registration.
The bill’s intention is to prevent temporary residents, such as campaign workers, from registering to vote. Those registering within 30 days of an election must show proof that they are not residing in New Hampshire for temporary reasons only. For example, they could show a New Hampshire driver’s license or child’s school registration.
If the voter cannot provide proof, they have up to 10 days post-election to follow up. Failure to follow up allows the authorities to come to a voter’s home to investigate.
Those in favor of the bill say it will provide tougher controls on voter fraud. Proponents also point out that while SB 3 may require proof of intent to stay in NH to vote, it does not prevent same day voter registration, nor will it impact out-of-state college students, as residency at an ‘institute of higher learning’ qualifies as proof of intent to stay in New Hampshire. Supporters say passage of this bill will help maintain confidence in NH’s election system.
Opponents say the bill adds unnecessary and intimidating steps to the state’s voting process by effectively disenfranchising elderly, low income, and other vulnerable citizens, who may have difficulty obtaining documents that prove their residency. By making the process more difficult, it will deter voters, especially young adults, whom New Hampshire should be trying to attract and retain. Detractors say the overall result of this bill will be decreased voter turnout, when New Hampshire should in fact be trying to encourage voter participation.
Should NH require new voters to prove they intend to stay in New Hampshire long-term? Share your opinion in the comments below.