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N.H. House Rejects Online Voter Registration

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Allegra Boverman
/
NHPR

New Hampshire won’t be offering online voter registration anytime soon. The House of Representatives killed a bill that would have required the Secretary of State to work with the Division of Motor Vehicles to set up such a system.

While New Hampshire voters must register in-person and on-paper, the personal information they supply while registering ultimately gets stored in a statewide online voter database. New Hampshire also shares information from that database with other states as part of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck program.

Critics argued that implementing online voter registration would carry too many security risks, pointing to well-publicized data breaches at Hannaford, Target, large banks and federal agencies.  

"Do we want to be the 'first-in-the-nation' to have as a registered voter Vladimir Putin?" asked Rep. Norman Silber, a Republican from Gilford, during Thursday’s floor debate on the issue.

Gilber also said the bill didn’t adequately consider the cost or logistics required to set up such a system. But supporters said it could save the state money over time, requiring less paperwork and less effort on the part of local election officials.

“Implementing online voter registration here in New Hampshire is an opportunity as the proud first-in-the-nation state to embrace innovation in the election process and make them even more effective, convenient, accurate and secure,” said Rep. Amelia Keane, a Democrat from Nashua.

New Hampshire is one of about a dozen states that doesn’t allow voters to register online.

While the Secretary of State’s office has historically opposed online registration, they have recently said they would be open to at least studying the idea

Casey McDermott is an editor and reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, where she works with colleagues across the newsroom to deepen the station’s accountability coverage, data journalism and audience engagement across platforms.

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