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Everything You Need To Know About Voter ID (Plus Some)

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,

“I hereby swear and affirm, under the penalties for voting fraud set forth below, that I am not in possession of some or all of the documents necessary to prove my identity, citizenship and age and that I am the identical person that I represent myself to be.”

If you sign the affidavit the Secretary of State will send a letter to the address you provide verifying that you did indeed vote. If you don’t return that letter, the Attorney General’s office will follow up to ensure that there was no voter fraud committed.

To avoid all that rig-a-marole you can just bring a photo ID. Not sure what IDs are acceptable? Check out the handy signage produced by the Secretary of State’s office, that you will likely see at your polling place.

The laws surrounding voter ID are set to tighten on September 1st, 2013. After that date only government issued IDs will be accepted – like driver’s licenses, passports, or armed services ID cards.

Investigators Mobilized

The Attorney General’s Office will have 30 investigators and attorneys in the field checking out claims of voter fraud or voter intimidation. This is the most that the AG has ever put out in the field. College towns – which have historically been hotbeds of problems on election day – will each have a representative from the AG’s office there full-time from the polls opening until close. The rest of the 30 will be roving around the state responding to complaints.

If you witness an act of voter intimidation or think that fraud is being committed, the AG has a hotline for reporting such abuses: 1-866-868-3703.

Costs of Voter ID

While nothing is free, and the cost of the new voter ID is up in the air. However, it almost certainly won’t be free either. Dave Scanlan, the Deputy Secretary of State, says that a “very unscientific” survey of polling places found that about 6.5 percent of voters didn’t show an ID during the primary. He says extrapolating that number out to the projected turnout for the general election, the Secretary of State might have to send letters to around 50,000 voters, which would cost in the neighborhood of $100,000. 

Once the letters have been sent, the Attorney General’s office will have to follow up on every one that goes unanswered in order to check for voter fraud. This could be a real drain on resources and could require additional spending. Attorney General Michael Delaney says it’s too soon to start talking about if his office will have to incur additional expenses or to estimate what those might be

Now, get out and vote!

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.
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