Voting Laws

Natasha Haverty / NHPR

Primary elections have a tendency to push candidates to the political extreme—fire up the base and draw bright lines around the issues. But during the New Hampshire presidential primary, where political independents play a central role those tactics often mean the campaign rhetoric sometimes doesn’t line up with how voters actually think.

Here are a few voters feeling that disconnect on one issue: guns.


NHPR

It’s become a common theme: voters are anxious – about national security, income inequality, and a government they see as unable to confront the country’s problems. Campaigns have tapped into these sentiments, often striking an angry tone. We’ll explore the extent of this discontent – and whether it's exceptional to this campaign season.

GUESTS:

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

The New Hampshire Senate has once again passed a 30-day residency requirement for voting, a measure Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan is likely to veto.

Republican senators backing the bill say it will cut down on voter fraud and ensure people voting in New Hampshire actually live in the state. Democratic opponents, meanwhile, say it will disenfranchise voters.

Manchester Man Pleads Guilty In Voter Fraud Case

Jan 18, 2016
justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

A Manchester man has pleaded guilty to voter fraud.

Natasha Haverty

In the 2016 presidential campaign, few issues have been as fiercely debated as immigration. Here in New Hampshire, the US Southern border thousands of miles away can feel like an abstraction. But a small and growing number of voters in New Hampshire take the immigration debate very personally: the state’s Latino community. And as that community grows, so does its resolve to find a political voice. 

NHPR/Michael Brindley

When a candidate comes to your town, there’s always a huddle of reporters with microphones and cameras. 

And we hear a lot from those candidates and their supporters at an event. 

But as we get closer to our First in the Nation Primary, here on Morning Edition we’re going to be those reporters with mics, talking with people at a town hall or a diner visit.  But you’re also going to hear us in the communities hosting the candidates, to find out what’s on voters’ minds. 

We start in Nashua at a town hall meeting for Marco Rubio at Nashua Community College.

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 / NHPR

Over a presidential campaign season that grows longer every four years, candidates have long counted on voters changing their minds before Primary Day. But we don’t often hear about how or why voters make up their minds in the first place. NHPR followed up with three voters to see how they are forming – and changing—their opinions over the course of the campaign.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday weighs an elections case that could dramatically change the way state legislative districts are drawn and could tilt some states in a decidedly more Republican direction.

The federal Constitution is clear. The national government's House of Representatives is to be apportioned based on the total population in each district, and the census is to count each person, whether eligible to vote or not, so that all are represented. The status of state legislative districts, however, is less clear.

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

New Hampshire's Ballot Law Commission is preparing to decide whether Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republicans Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are eligible for the state's presidential primary ballot.

The group meets Tuesday to take up complaints against the candidates.

The challenge against Cruz, a Texas senator, alleges he's ineligible to run for president because he was born in Canada. Cruz's mother was born in Delaware, giving him U.S. citizenship upon birth.

The towns in New Hampshire's White Mountains region have been must-stops on the campaign schedules of presidential candidates for decades. The region's sweeping views, quaint villages and history of resilience make it the ideal backdrop for those auditioning for the Oval Office. But what’s in it for the voters? And how engaged are they, away from the campaign stops and photo ops? NHPR's Natasha Haverty wanted to find out.

Natasha Haverty

It’s on every presidential candidate’s checklist: make at least one swing through northern New Hampshire, deliver a stump speech, shake hands with residents of the quiet mountain towns. But what about the people who aren’t at those campaign events? 

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

A Manchester man has turned himself in to police after a warrant was issued accusing him of giving false addresses and voting in two other towns on Election Day in November 2014. The attorney general's office says Derek Castonguay registered to vote in Salem last year while living in Manchester.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Concerned over election fraud, the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office wants to keep on the books a state law that bans posting ballot photos to social media.

The Caledonian Record reports the office has taken its case to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

A federal judge ruled Aug. 13 that the law passed last year prohibiting residents from photographing their marked ballots and sharing them violated free speech and isn't necessary to stop election fraud, which is what proponents of the law— including the Secretary of State's office —had argued.

xandert / Morguefile

 

A federal judge has upheld a New Hampshire law the Libertarian Party argued could prevent its candidates from getting on the ballot.

Libertarians sued Secretary of State William Gardner last year, challenging new limits on how long parties have to collect signatures to petition their way onto the ballot. State law requires a third party to collect signatures equal to 3 percent of the total votes cast during the prior election. Under the change, parties can't begin gathering signatures until Jan. 1 of the election year.

U.S. National Archives / Flickr/CC

This month, there’s been a lot of attention to the rules and regulations around casting a ballot, with last week’s fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and a federal appeals court rejecting a Texas voter I.D. law.  We’re discussing how and why most states have tightened up their voting requirements, including New Hampshire.

Public Domain

In 1870, Marilla Ricker, an attorney from Dover, attempted to cast a ballot in an election, but she was turned away. She tried again every year for the next five decades and was either refused or had her ballot destroyed. Ricker died in 1920, shortly after women won the right to vote. 

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Fox News took plenty of criticism for how it chose the ten candidates for Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate. But for actual voters faced with paring the list down to just one candidate, the challenge is perhaps even more daunting.

Vox Efx / Flickr Creative Commons

 

A Concord non-profit is calling for greater voter participation and civic engagement in New Hampshire as it releases a study showing poor performance in both areas.

The group, Open Democracy, is holding a press conference Thursday morning at the Legislative Office Building to discuss the findings of a 9-month research project. The project measured areas such as voter registration and turnout, volunteerism, political donations, lobbying, diversity of representation and the competitiveness of New Hampshire elections.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

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.

Vox Efx / Flickr Creative Commons

 

A coalition of civil rights groups, local election authorities and lawmakers are urging Gov. Maggie Hassan to veto a bill requiring people to live in New Hampshire for 30 days before they can register to vote.

The New Hampshire House passed the measure last week and the Senate already adopted a similar law. The Secretary of State's Office also supports the waiting period as a way to prevent "drive-by" voting by people who live out of state.

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

 

The New Hampshire House is backing a bill that would require a person to live in the state for 30 days before they can vote.

Supporters of such legislation say they want to crack down on "drive by" voting to ensure people voting in New Hampshire elections actually live here. But critics say the state shouldn't restrict who can and can't vote. Students or others who move to the state less than 30 days before an election shouldn't be barred from voting, they say.

NHPR Staff

The state’s highest court has upheld a ruling that struck down a 2012 law linking registering to vote with state motor vehicle laws.

In a unanimous ruling the court called the voter form language  “confusing and inaccurate” and that it unreasonably burdens the fundamental right to vote.”

Out-of-state college students challenged the law, which added language to the form noting that drivers need to register vehicles and apply for a state driver’s license within 60 days of becoming a resident.

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

 

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a 2012 voter registration law, saying language that links voting to getting a driver's license is unconstitutional and could discourage some people from voting.

The court, in a unanimous decision Friday, said because the language is confusing and inaccurate, and because it could cause an otherwise qualified voter not to register to vote in New Hampshire, it imposes an "unreasonable" burden upon the right to vote.

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

A lawyer for the state of New Hampshire says the language of a voter registration law that lower courts have declared confusing and unconstitutional is legally accurate.

In arguments to the NH Supreme Court Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen LaBonte says the 2012 law amending voter registration forms simply clarifies that those who reside here must abide by laws requiring them to obtain drivers' licenses and register their vehicles if they are residents.

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Note: This is a two-part story. Scroll down to hear and read what Republicans had to say.

Democratic voters:

While Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Former Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley have made many trips to New Hampshire and several other candidates have said they could run, right now Hillary Clinton is the only sure thing.

New Hampshire’s Democratic committeewoman, Kathy Sullivan, co-chaired Clinton’s winning 2008 primary campaign and remains a loyalist.  

Kyle Flannery/USFWS / Flickr/CC

A bill proposed by fourth graders from Hampton falls was harshly debated and defeated in the legislature last month, leading to some late-night satire but also a conversation about the best way to get students involved in the democratic process. We’ll look at that and also examine bills this year addressing voter requirements.

GUESTS, VOTER REQUIREMENTS:

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House of Representatives is asking the state Supreme Court to weigh in on a bill requiring people registering to vote — including out-of-state students or military personnel — to also register their cars and obtain drivers' licenses in New Hampshire.

The request for an advisory opinion was made in writing Wednesday and made public by the court Thursday.

A New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union lawyer says including the drivers' license requirement in establishing a voter's eligibility amounts to a poll tax that forces people to pay the state to vote.

From Pope Francis and President Obama to the kid down the block, we have, for better or worse, become a world full of selfie-takers.

But as ubiquitous as they are, there are some places where selfies remain controversial — like the voting booth. The legal battle rages over so-called ballot selfies in the state that holds the first presidential primary.

This may be a fight of the digital age, but according to New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, it involves a very old American ideal — the sanctity of the secret ballot.

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

House lawmakers are considering a measure that aims to create guidelines for election officials to judge a voters domicile. And the secretary of state’s office supports the bill.

The fight over what should constitute domicile for voting purposes has been going on for years in New Hampshire, and it’s often focused status of college students.

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