It’s shaping up to be a busy week for anyone following potential changes to the state’s election laws. At least 17 such bills are on deck for public hearings before House and Senate committees — a majority of which seek to restrict existing rules around voting.
Election law is expected to be a major area of focus this legislative session, with roughly 40 voting-related bills expected.
The bills on deck for hearings in House Election Law Tuesday and Wednesday include proposals that would:
- ...remove the words “for the indefinite future” from the state’s existing definition of who counts as a resident. (That definition, in turn, is used to determine voting eligibility.)
- ...get rid of same-day voter registration, close registration 30 days before an election, require colleges to issue ID cards that show a student’s residency status and limit party primaries only to members of a given political party. (All in the same bill.)
- ...take away someone’s ability to claim domicile to vote or run for office in New Hampshire if that person claims a homestead exemption or files taxes as a resident in another state.
- ...no longer allow vehicle registrations to be used to prove someone’s domicile for voting purposes.
- ...add penalties under the state’s voter fraud laws for people who provide false information about another person’s domicile.
On the Senate side, lawmakers overseeing election issues are set to consider whether to add a 13-day residency requirement for voting, whether to add new pieces of contact information to the absentee voter application and whether to set up “a bipartisan commission to evaluate New Hampshire’s response to Russian interference in our democracy.”
Also on Tuesday morning, the Senate Finance Committee will also hear input on a bill to give $500,000 to the Department of Justice to help its ability to enforce existing election and lobbying laws. Department officials have repeatedly told lawmakers they don’t have enough staffing time or resources to keep up with their existing caseloads.