Voting Laws

Anyone who’s been paying attention the last few months knows who and what will be appearing on the ballot in a few weeks. (And if you haven’t been paying attention, get off the sidelines already!) 

But how that information gets on the ballots is a process we don’t think much about.

In the run up to the 2004 election, NHPR's Lisa Peakes visited Captial Offset Printing, the company that had printed ballots for the state for decades.

Here's her story from the NHPR archives:

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

A New Hampshire judge has struck down a law requiring out-of-state students to establish legal residency before being allowed to vote.

The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union challenged the law on behalf of four out-of-state college students two years ago, shortly after lawmakers overrode a veto by then-Gov. John Lynch and passed Senate Bill 318.

New Hampshire residents have one more day to register to vote in the September primary elections.

Tuesday is both the last day for new voter registration and the last day those already registered can change their party affiliations. Undeclared voters may vote in either the Republican or Democratic primaries.

The primaries will be held Sept. 9. Candidates can start signing up to get on the ballot Wednesday. The filing period ends June 13.

cleOpatra via Flickr CC

Gov. Deval Patrick is preparing to sign a bill that would allow early voting up to 11 days before Election Day, making Massachusetts the 33rd state to allow early voting.

The bill would also allow online voter registration and let 16- and 17-year-olds pre-register to vote.

A final compromise version of the bill has been approved by the Massachusetts House and Senate and shipped to Patrick for his signature.

Wendy Longo photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Behind the numbers are the experiences of America's poor, which, more often than not, go unheard. This divide is the problem that N.H. writer and activist Dan Weeks addressed in the project he undertook last year, to travel around some of the poorest areas of the country by bus and see poverty close up, as well as the ways that it intertwines with a lack of political voice. Today we'll talk with him about the series of articles he wrote for The Atlantic on his trip and what he saw.

GUESTS:

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."

With all the talk around a Voter ID law, which would tighten requirements for voting, others are looking to loosen the reigns. They are hoping to pass a bill in which New Hampshire would join 35 other states in  allowing for absentee balloting. Supporters say that it would address the concerns of those who find themselves too busy to vote on Election Day or may not have transportation to get to the polls. Opponents however suggest that expanding voting could possibly lead to more voter fraud. We'll look at the possibilities.

Guests:

New Hampshire students will still be able to use their school-issued IDs to vote after lawmakers approved a modified bill Wednesday.

Under a law passed last year, student IDs would no longer have been valid at polls starting this fall. But lawmakers are rolling back that provision, allowing New Hampshire-based school IDs as proof of identity.

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.

Revisiting Voter ID

Apr 18, 2013

Today on The Exchange, revisiting New Hampshire's Voter ID laws. With stricter ID provisions ready to kick in at the polls this September, a new house bill looks to pull back on these requirements. Supporters cite disproportionate toll on certain groups of voters, such as minorities and the elderly, while opponents voice concerns about potential fraud. We're talking to both sides of this issue, taking place not only in the Granite State, but states across the country.

Guests:

Some key votes are coming up within a busy House docket: the tobacco tax increase, expected to pass, but at less than the Governor's proposed level; freezing the second phase of the Voter ID law, halting provisions set to take effect this fall that would eliminate some of the current acceptable forms of identification, namely college students' school IDs; a change of the "Stand Your Ground" law, reinstating the requirement that people make an effort to retreat before using deadly force.

N.H. House Votes To Reverse Voter Registration Law

Mar 13, 2013

The House has voted to change a voter registration law that will make it clear that out-of-state college students have a right to vote in New Hampshire.

A group of Democratic lawmakers want to repeal the voter ID requirements implemented under Republican leadership.

Current law requires that voters be asked for photo identification at the polls, but does not require they have one to cast a ballot.

In elections this year, people who wanted to vote but did not have ID had to sign an affidavit.

Proponents argue the measure helps to prevent voter fraud, but Tim Horrigan, a Durham Democrat, says there is no evidence that a problem exists.

State Begins Tabulating Cost Of Voter ID Law

Nov 26, 2012
Poll workers
NHPR

The Secretary of State’s Office says the first Election Day under the new Voter ID law was a low-cost success story.  But over the next few months, those costs will rise.

But how much money the state will have to pay to implement and enforce the Voter ID law is still an open question. 

Long Lines At Polls Not Because Of Voter ID Law

Nov 7, 2012
Manchester Polls
Susan Posner / NHPR

New Hampshire Elections officials say they heard a fair number of complaints about long lines at the polls.  But as they say something other than the new voter ID law is to blame.

Talk of long lines at the polls was common on Election Day.  And for Republican gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne, it even affected how Election Night played out. As supporters saw more and more returns favoring Democrat Maggie Hassan, a spokeswoman addressed the crowd.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

Polling stations in Nashua opened at 6 AM this morning. And many stood patiently long before the sun appeared.

With temperatures hovering around 30 degrees, at least 150 voters wrapped around the Amherst Street School building before dawn.

Arthur Barrett is the town’s moderator.

He says by around 10 AM, almost 1500 had already cast their ballots.

He compares this turnout to that of 2008:

In Coos County, The Voters Are Coming

Nov 6, 2012
Chris Jensen for NHPR

In the towns of Dalton and Whitefield in Coos County voting was heavy Tuesday morning.

Dalton Town Moderator Ann Craxton seemed quite pleased with the way things were going.

“The turnout for us has been very heavy. We have 540 registered voters. We have more than 50 that voting absentee and here by 10 o’clock in the morning we’ve already had 80 come through the polls.

Beyond that Craxton says the voters are an eager and happy bunch.

We look at what our nation’s most important document, the Constitution, says and doesn’t say about elections. There’s some debate over who should write the rules, the federal or state governments, also who exactly can cast a ballot and if voting is a right or a privilege.  We’ll talk with those involved in new civics program called “Constitutionally speaking”. 

Guests

TBA

NH Secretary of State

Today, everyone who goes to the polls will be asked to show a photo-ID in order to vote. This is the second  step in a phased in process instituting voter ID’s over the next few election cycles. The process began with the primary in September when poll workers asked to see an ID but let voters cast a ballot regardless of whether they produced one or not.

Today poll workers will ask for an ID, and anyone who does not have one will have to sign “a qualified voter affidavit” stating,

betsythedevine via Flickr Creative Commons

Unprecedented spending by Super PACs has voters feeling deluged by 2012 campaign ads.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The State’s election officials are gearing up for Election Day, preparing voters and town workers to implement the state’s new voter ID law.

Back in September, the new law required poll workers to ask for an ID during the primary. The idea was to start educating voters, even though it wasn’t required to vote.

The Secretary of State’s office says around 6.5% of voters either didn’t have an ID, or refused to show one in protest of the new law.

Delaney: Obviously it’s a sensitive issue.

League of Women Voters of California via Flickr Creative Commons

Next week, voters will take to the polls to elect the next president of the United States.  Watching the process will be a number of observers from all sides of the political process.

If you show up to vote on November 6th, election officials will, for the first time in New Hampshire, ask for identification. Voters can show a driver’s license, military ID, student ID or a passport.

For those without an ID, the state is now ready to distribute a free voter ID card, says David Scanlan, Deputy Secretary of State.

What The Future Looks Like For Voter ID Laws

Oct 4, 2012
Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

For the first time, Granite State voters will be expected to show photo ID at the polls in November.  New Hampshire now one of eleven states that require or request photo identification to cast a ballot. 

But that number continues to change. In Pennsylvania, for example, a judge recently halted parts of that state’s strict photo ID law

Gardner Weighs In On Voter ID Law

Oct 4, 2012

New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner has weighed in on the state's new voter registration law, saying "it cannot be" that non-residents can somehow claim domicile for voting purposes only.

Pres. Clinton Criticizes N.H. Voter ID Law

Oct 3, 2012
PennStateLive / Flickr

Former President Bill Clinton is telling college students in the battleground state of New Hampshire that they have the right to vote either where they attend school or at home.

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

A Strafford County judge says the Secretary of State must change voter registration forms before November’s election. 

The New Hampshire League of Women Voters and four college students sued the state after it released registration forms that seemed to say voters had to meet residency requirements.  But under state law, people who spend most of their time here for a defined period, like college students and military personnel, can vote without becoming residents.  League Election Law Specialist Joan Flood Ashwell says she’s pleased with the ruling.

The No-Votes

Sep 22, 2012

A new survey shows as many as ninety million Americans are likely to sit out this election.  They cite a number of reasons from “I’m too busy” to “my vote doesn’t matter”.  But in a tight election, these voters could have a profound impact on the outcome.  We’ll look closer at this group, why they feel the way they do, and the implications for our democracy.

Guests

David Paleologos - Director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, which conducted the Unlikely/Unregistered Voter Poll with USA Today.

No Settlement Reached In Voter Registration Suit

Sep 21, 2012
Chris Jensen / NHPR

The New Hampshire attorney general's office says the state and two advocacy groups have failed to reach a settlement in a case challenging a new law that blocks out-of-state students from voting unless they establish legal residency in the state.

A superior court judge set a deadline of Friday for the state and the New Hampshire chapters of the League of Women Voters and the American Civil Liberties Union to reach a compromise.

Assistant Attorney General Richard Head says settling constitutional challenges is no easy task. He says the office will await the court's ruling.

Daniel Parks / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

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