Gov. Hassan Likely To Veto Change In Voting Requirement

Jun 11, 2015

Gov. Maggie Hassan says she is likely to veto a bill that would require a person to live in the state for at least 30 days before being able to vote.

In a statement on Thursday, Hassan’s press secretary says the governor has  “serious concerns" that this bill could violate the constitutional rights of New Hampshire citizens. This comes after activists and numerous lawmakers have put pressure on the governor this week to kill it.

Gilles Bissonnette of the American Civil Liberties Union says this requirement would make it harder for people to vote. “We have a lot of concerns that students as well as other groups of individuals would be affected by that law – that includes military personnel that frequently move, that includes hospital personnel,” he said after a press conference at the State House.

Sen. David Pierce of Lebanon , who also attended the press conference, says this requirement is politically driven.  "In a democracy, the voters are the one that pick their representatives. The representatives don't pass laws to pick their voters," he told the crowd. 

But Secretary of State Bill Gardner stands by the bill – saying it prevents people from taking advantage of New Hampshire’s political prominence.

“This was an attempt, and a modest attempt to address the concerns that we are a swing state and a lot of people feel that their vote matters here,” he said Thursday, adding that for the past six election cycles at least one person has illegally voted.

Currently N.H. is on of 11 states who have same-day voter registration.

Sen. Sharon Carson, who is the main sponsor of the bill, says voter fraud isn't rampant but it is a problem. "We have to live with the results of an election and if we have people that are coming here who are not invested in our state, not invested in our community, picking our leaders, that is a problem," she said.

Nearly 30 states have a similar measure on the books, but unlike in many of those states, New Hampshire residents can’t register online or at the DMV.