Stricter voting rules for out-of-state students?

Dec 27, 2017

BY: Citizens Count

HB 1543, proposed for consideration in the 2018 legislative session by Rep. Brian Stone (R-Northwood), requires out-of-state college students to provide proof that they are domiciled in New Hampshire before they are permitted to vote.

That proof would include a "vehicle registration, driver’s license, city or county car stickers, payment of state or local taxes, participation in community and professional activities in New Hampshire, the presence of immediate family members in the state, and length of time in the state,” according to the legislation.

Current voting rules for out-of-state students 

Currently, students registering to vote must present an ID at the polls or sign an affidavit attesting that they are domiciled in the state. A student ID for a New Hampshire college or university is considered valid proof of domicile for voting purposes. 

How HB 1543 would change student voting rights 

That would no longer be the case if HB 1543 passes. The bill would change state law to read that “... the mere presence of a student at the place where an institution of learning is situated is not sufficient to entitle the student to vote there."

In-state students, according to the measure, can make the claim of domicile. Out-of-state students, however, “shall overcome domicile requirements by presenting evidence to show whether the student came to New Hampshire solely for attending school or whether he or she intends to make this state his or her home for the time being. The burden is on the student to prove his or her domicile.”

Arguments for and against tightening student voter eligibility 

Supporters argue the students are not permanent residents and should not have the right to vote. Instead, they should vote by absentee ballot in their home state.

Opponents of the legislation say it is an example of voter suppression, and they cite a 1979 U.S. Supreme Court decision that students have the right to vote in the towns and cities where they attend college if they so choose. The court said the law cannot constitutionally add burdens to voter registration or voting simply because someone is a student.

Should students have to provide a New Hampshire driver’s license or other proof in order to vote? Let us know in the comments section below.

Comments

Jerome Clark
- Newington

Thu, 12/28/2017 - 6:24am

No one is denying them their voting rights. If they want to vote in a general election, let them vote with an absentee ballot from their state of origin. That would apply to a presidential election but as far as a representative or senatorial vote, I'm not sure what the solution would be. I have a problem with out of state students driving the results one way or the other when it comes to state legislators.

Denns Francoeur
- Danville

Wed, 12/27/2017 - 5:19pm

Stricter rules are needed.

Maureen Turgeon
- Haverhill

Wed, 12/27/2017 - 4:39pm

This has already been decided in the Supreme Court. The move to restrict students from voting where they attend school is just plane voter supression. Let people vote.

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RELATED ISSUE

Student Vote | 7 comment(s)
Should out-of-state students be allowed to vote in NH elections?

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Representative, NH House of Representatives (2016 - 2018); former EBT Program Specialist, NH Department of Health and Human Services; Veteran Military Police, U.S. Army, Iraq Campaign

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