Keene State Leaders to Students: Protect Your Voting Rights

May 3, 2019

Credit www.visitnhcolleges.com

Keene State College administrators are urging students to speak up about New Hampshire’s voting laws, saying they're concerned changes set to take effect in July will reduce student participation in the 2020 elections.

Under House Bill 1264, a controversial Republican-led effort passed last year, voters will be required to declare state residency before they can cast a ballot.

Opponents say the law amounts to a poll tax because legal residents must have in-state driver’s licenses and car registrations.

"About half our students, with this new law, would have multiple hurdles to voting,” said Kim Schmidl-Gagne, who spoke on behalf of Keene State President Melinda Treadwell at an event on campus Friday organized by the New Hampshire Youth Movement.

“When you have an institution that’s committed to civic engagement,” she said, “it’s our responsibility to encourage everyone to think about what these issues are and try to find ways to make it easier for our students to vote.”

Democratic state lawmakers are moving to roll back the new requirements this year, but it’s unclear if they will be successful. 

The ACLU is also challenging HB 1264 in court.