Split Supreme Court Says N.H. Residency Voting Bill Constitutional

Jul 12, 2018

New Hampshire's high court ruled a bill eliminating the distinction between "residency" and "domicile" for voting purposes is constitutional.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

A divided New Hampshire Supreme Court says a bill eliminating the distinction between residency and domicile is constitutional.

The governor sought the court's input on House Bill 1264, which aims to require people who vote here -- like college students -- to abide by other residency requirements, like getting a driver's license or registering their cars.

Three justices -- all promoted or appointed to the court by Sununu -- ruled that the state has reason to harmonize domicile and residency and that nothing in the constitution prohibits it. The two other justices said it was wrong for the court to consider the bill without a developed record.

In a statement Governor Sununu said he appreciated the courts consideration and was reviewing its decision.

Gilles Bissonnette of the NH ACLU says the  fight over this bill is far from over.

"This decision does not prevent this bill if it is signed into law -- and we think it should be vetoed -- from being successfully challenged in court with the benefit of a full record developed in litigation."

Should the bill become law, it would take effect next year.

 

The governor said earlier this  year that he would likely sign the bill into law if the Supreme Court found no major problems with it.

READ the opinion of the justices here: