Protect Voting Rights in New Hampshire
Update from AFSC:
SB 3, the bill that would require new voters to prove they intend to live in NH by providing proof from a lengthy list of requirements, passed on a party line 14-9 vote. Those who register on Election Day will have to fill out a lengthy and complicated form, and provide proof of their residency from that lengthy list within 10 days of the election. After that, supervisors of the checklist will be required to investigate, perhaps by sending “agents” to the residence. The term agent is not defined, and could be anyone (use your imagination.). Given the complexity of the wording, the measure has been challenged as the equivalent of a literacy test, something that has been illegal for decades.
Recommendations from Voting Rights subgroup of Indivisible NH-Carroll County: Subgroup met on March 4th and made the recommendations below.
Process: Through the NH General Court website, we examined all bills dealing with election law that were referred to either the House Election Law Committee or the Senate Election and Internal Affairs Committee. The information below is current as of 03/04/2017
A. House: Of the 24 House bills, 7 will come to a vote by the full House on 03/08/2017. To have any impact on the outcome, voters must contact their representatives and express their views before that vote.
-Recommendation: URGE DEFEAT of and EXPRESS OPPOSITION to the following three bills: HB372. Defining residency and domicile. Attempt to restrict student voting.
HB430. On first look, this bill looks like a simple housekeeping one for keeping track of out-of-state drivers’ licenses, it increases the work of town clerk/supervisors of the check lists and, as such, was opposed by the minority of the committee (9 of 20).
HB 552. This bill transfers the authority to investigate undeliverable voter verification letters from the Attorney General (AG) to the Secretary of State. The committee minority (9 of 20) opposed moving a voter fraud issue (legal) from the AG office to a record-keeping one. A proposed Senate Bill SB 197 will provide funding to the AG for this function.
-Recommendation: SUPPORT AND URGE PASSAGE of following four bills (all opposed by GOP majority; supported by the minority.) These may be lost causes but it does not hurt to express an opinion.
HB348: Allows voter registration through the Department of Motor Vehicles (Motor-Voter bill). All Republicans & one Dem on Committee voted against this bill.
HB320. Uses a mathematical algorithm to apportion electoral districts; i.e., takes politics out of re-districting process. (11 Republicans opposed/8 Dems favored bill).
HB447. Electoral College vote allocated by popular vote. (11 Republicans opposed/8 Dems favored bill).
HB622: Allows all voters to vote absentee. (11 Republicans opposed/8 Dems favored bill).
Additional Information. 7 bills are retained in committee (403, 404, 459, 465, 616, 639, 651). Rep. Bates was the sole sponsor of 6 of these bills; Rep Seidel joined him on HB465. Unlikely to be voted on by full house.
B. Senate. Of 6 bills, 3 will come to a vote on 03/09/2017 so express support or opposition to our Senator Bradley before that date.
-Recommendation: URGE DEFEAT of and EXPRESS OPPOSITION to the following bill to Senator BRADLEY:
SB3. Defines domicile. Purpose of bill is to limit voting by students and those living temporarily in the state.
-Recommendation: SUPPORT AND URGE PASSAGE of following bills:
SB108. Would add information (phone number, e-mail) to absentee ballot application. A housekeeping bill that seems okay. Support is probably not needed for passage.
SB194. Authorize on-line voter registration. Probably doomed to fail, but good to support in any case.
Additional Information. 3 bills remain in committee and may not be voted on by full senate: SB106, establishing 13-day residency requirement for voting (bad!); SB107, establish independent redistricting commission (good); SB197, make appropriation for AG to enforce election laws (good).