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House Considering Bill To Create Residency Guidelines For Voters

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.

Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan told the election law committee that its reasonable for  the state to codify a list of factors - like what address a person uses on a tax return, or where they keep their most valuable possessions - when judging a voter’s qualifications.

“It not definitive, it just says when you are considering whether a person is domiciled in New Hampshire, because they have a situation that would lead you to question whether they are or not, you can look to these examples to help make that determination.”

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR
House deputy speaker Gene Chandler gives an interview to NHPR after Governor Hassan's second inaugural speech

The proposal was introduced by Republican Gene Chandler, the House’s deputy speaker. It replaced an earlier bill he backed that sought to force people who register to vote here to register their cars here as well.

A 2012 law requiring New Hampshire voters to follow other laws for residents was struck down last summer after it was challenged by the NH Civil Liberties Union, which was representing the 4 out of state college students and the League of Women Voters. 

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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