Election Law

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

After clearing the Senate along party lines, a Republican-sponsored bill to add new requirements for voters registering within 30 days of an election is up for a public hearing in the House Tuesday morning.

SB3 & Voting Laws: Facts, Fear, and Fiction

Apr 13, 2017
Allegra Boverman

A voting requirements bill now in the N.H. House has drawn huge attention this year and continues to generate questions about domicile, voter fraud, and access at the polls. Supporters say even the perception of cheating at the ballot box is unacceptable, while critics call SB3 a "voter suppression" bill.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

There’s plenty of debate in New Hampshire right now around the question of who should be allowed to vote here. A big part of that lies in figuring out when — and why — a person calls New Hampshire their home. Answering that question, however, isn’t always straightforward.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A bill that would hire a full-time attorney to enforce state election laws  unanimously cleared the Senate Thursday. 

Currently the state has one half-time employee charged with investigating potential voter fraud.

Senator Bette Lasky, who sponsored the bill, says this workload is “virtually impossible” for one person to do part-time.

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

Updated at 4:30 PM:

After consulting with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General's office and holding a conference call with local election officials Governor Sununu says differences remain over who has the power to decide when an election can be postponed.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: March 10, 2017

Mar 9, 2017

The N.H. legislature had a full calendar this week, debating changes to the state’s election laws, transgender rights and marijuana decriminalization.  N.H.'s congressional delegation reacts to President Trump's revised travel ban, and assesses the impact in  N.H, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions makes a surprise visit to an N.H. youth summit on opioid abuse.


Logan Shannon / NHPR

Secretary of State Bill Gardner says he would not support legislation if he believed it would hurt voter turnout. And as he sees it, a new bill that would impose new requirements on voters who register within 30 days of an election does not run the risk of doing that.

Elaine Grant / NHPR

Republican lawmakers have proposed dozens of individual bills to tighten up New Hampshire election laws this year, but one new proposal coming forward this week would on its own enact a number of changes in what’s required for voters to register and how officials are expected to verify those credentials.

New Hampshire Senate
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate voted Thursday to keep campaign contributions flowing from LLCs, but moved to tighten restrictions on political advertising. 

Senator Dan Feltes argued in vain Thursday in favor of his bill, which would have closed what he calls the Limited Liability Corporation loophole. The bill sought to prevent multiple LLCs with the same owner from collectively exceeding the individual campaign contribution limit.

The majority instead voted with Senator Andy Sanborn, who owns several LLCs himself.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

At first glance, one of the voting bills introduced by Representative David Bates this week would seem to be just a minor change, removing just four words from an existing statute.

The Windham Republican wants to strike part of the state law defining what it means to be a resident or inhabitant, or what it means to claim residency — specifically, the part that extends that definition to include people who intend to remain in New Hampshire "for the indefinite future." Those definitions, in turn, are used to help decide who’s eligible to vote in New Hampshire.

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s shaping up to be a busy week for anyone following potential changes to the state’s election laws. At least 17 such bills are on deck for public hearings before House and Senate committees — a majority of which seek to restrict existing rules around voting.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A Windham lawmaker is hoping to rewrite New Hampshire's election laws in an effort to prevent what he calls potential voter fraud.

One of his proposals received some pushback Wednesday particularly from those who would have to abide by one specific change to current law.  

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Lawmakers heard input Tuesday on a bill that, if left unchanged, could drastically expand the power of the Secretary of State’s office.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

From changes in voting registration to changes to party primaries or the Electoral College, New Hampshire lawmakers are preparing a slew of bills aimed at reforming the state’s elections.

In all, at least 40 bills aimed at tinkering with the state’s election laws are in the works for 2017.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

House Speaker Shawn Jasper says Republican control in Concord could pave the way for changes to the state's election laws.

After narrowly winning his party's nomination for a second term as Speaker last week, Jasper spoke to NHPR's All Things Considered about priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

voting booths
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Though there is no evidence behind President-elect Donald Trump’s recent claim of “serious’’ voter fraud in New Hampshire, the state could see a handful of election law changes now that Republicans are in charge at the State House.

Gov.-elect Chris Sununu wants to eliminate Election Day registration, while fellow Republicans in the legislature have long sought a 10- or 30-day residency requirement. They say the changes would give voters more confidence in New Hampshire’s election systems.

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

    

After suggesting that Democrats were abusing the state’s same-day voter registration rules by “busing” in out-of-state voters, Chris Sununu clarified that he does not believe voters are being literally bused across the New Hampshire border en masse to participate in the elections — but he does favor stronger residency requirements to prevent potential abuses at the polls.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Updated 08/26/2016:

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office issued a statement outlining their position on the legality of guns in schools when used as polling places.

Reporter Jason Moon joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello to discuss the statement.

The statement from the Attorney General's Office in full:

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House will have a busy next two days with dozens of bills slated for a vote. A few of these bills focus on the state’s election laws, which have gained steam since last month’s presidential primary and ahead of this fall's general election.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Every ten years, with new census data, the New Hampshire legislature redraws the political map. It’s the party in power that gets to hold the pen. But Tuesday, a bill was introduced in the House proposing the state set up an independent redistricting commission.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

New Hampshire’s primary is just five weeks away, and state election officials are anticipating record turnout. There’s something else on their minds too—this will be the first presidential primary with the state’s new voter ID law in place. 

The law, which passed three and a half years ago, was part of a wave of stricter voter laws pushed by Republicans across the country. How it plays out on Primary Day is still an open question.

 


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire was the first state to expressly prohibit ballot selfies.

The logic was that allowing people to prove how they voted could lead to vote buying or coercion.

The federal court found those interests insufficient to ban what amounted to political speech. 

Vox Efx / Flickr Creative Commons

 

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has declined to weigh in on a bill tying the right to vote with registering a vehicle.

Under the bill, those who declare New Hampshire their home for voting purposes would be considered a resident for motor vehicle law purposes.

House lawmakers asked the court in March for an advisory opinion on two issues: whether the bill would violate a specific part of the state Constitution and whether it would violate any other provisions of the state or U.S. Constitution.

State prosecutors say Lorin C. Schneider of Carver, Massachusetts cast a ballot he shouldn't have in Manchester.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Labonte says Schnieder once lived in Manchester, and came to the attention of authorities after he was seen voting in Ward 9 by someone who knew him, and knew he lived out of state.

According to Labonte, this wasn’t the first time Schneider wrongfully voted here.

"We also believe additional charges will be brought for voting in past elections, the 2012 presidential primary and the 2008 general election."

Vox Efx / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire lawmakers have been looking at whether to make changes to the state’s voter identification law. Critics say provisions of the law, set to take effect this fall, would cost the state money and cause delays at the polls.

A Senate Committee has recommended killing a bill passed by the House of Representatives that would make it easier to challenge voters at the polls.