There are people in the Legislature who want to make it difficult or impossible for some New Hampshirites to exercise their right to vote. The ACLU-NH reports, “In June 2012, the New Hampshire legislature, overriding Governor John Lynch’s veto, passed Senate Bill 318, which added… language requir[ing] those registering to vote to sign an affidavit agreeing that they are subject to the state’s residency laws.”
The problem here is that ‘residency’ is not the criteria needing to be met to be qualified to vote in NH. The ACLU-NH adds, “to vote in New Hampshire, one needs to be ‘domiciled’ here. This distinction matters because the definition of ‘resident’ is very strict, as it also requires an intent to live in New Hampshire for the ‘indefinite future’.” The language of SB318 was subsequently struck down twice by the Strafford County Superior Court and in 2015 tossed out as unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court.
Regarding voting rights, the ACLU-NH adds:
“If legal ‘residency’ was the criteria to vote, thousands of people who live in New Hampshire would be disenfranchised simply because they may have plans — perhaps years in the future — to leave the state.
For example, imposing such a ‘residency’ condition on the right to vote — i.e., a condition that one have an intent to live in New Hampshire for the ‘indefinite future’ — would disenfranchise many college students who live in New Hampshire, an executive living in Manchester who has a firm intention to retire to his Florida cottage at age 65, a hospital resident living in Hanover with a career plan requiring her to spend three years in New Hampshire to complete her medical training, and a member of the Navy who lives in Portsmouth but knows that she will be transferred elsewhere in two years…
[O]ne is domiciled in New Hampshire for voting purposes if that person has a continuous physical presence here and treats this state as ‘home.’”
Some argue such strict regulations and definitions are needed to prevent so-called “drive by voting.” However the ACLU-NH reports “the Secretary of State’s Office has produced no tangible evidence of ‘drive-by’ voter fraud actually occurring in New Hampshire.”
If elected, I will:
1) support the right to vote by opposing any attempts to disenfranchise qualified voters.
2) introduce legislation supporting expanded ability to register to vote without presenting yourself to the city or town clerk.