Judge Sets Friday Deadline For Voter Registration Agreement

Sep 20, 2012

New Hampshire’s League of Women Voters could reach an agreement with the state soon on a controversial addition to voter registration forms.  This following Wednesday’s hearing in Strafford County Superior Court. 

The Strafford County judge has set noon, Friday, as deadline for an agreement.  The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, representing the League of Women Voters and four college students—recently filed suit against the state.

The issue is New Hampshire’s residency law, which covers most people.  But there are some people—like military personnel and out-of-state college students—who live here most of the time, but probably won’t be settling down.  Under this so-called “domicile” law, these people can vote, but they don’t need to register their cars in New Hampshire or get a state driver’s license.

Except one sentence on new voter registration forms seems to say they do.

And that’s what spurred the lawsuit.  The state’s League of Women voters contends this confusion could keep students away from the polls.

League Election Law Specialist Joan Flood Ashwell was at Wednesday’s hearing.  She says while the Attorney General didn’t agree that the language was confusing, he did agree that students don’t have to get a New Hampshire Driver’s License to vote.  Ideally, she says, the League would like for all the old registration forms to be recalled.  But that’s a sticking point for the state.

Ashwell says both sides seemed close to an agreement by the end of the hearing.