Voting Laws

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Democrats on the state’s Fiscal Committee rejected a portion of a Department of Justice funding request, saying they didn’t want additional state money going toward lawsuits defending bills they opposed.

The Attorney General requested an additional $1.2 million in funding pay for ongoing litigation, including prosecuting criminal cases and defending two controversial election-related bills passed in previous sessions by Republicans. 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Did you know that people who are incarcerated pre-trial, or serving time for a misdemeanor, have a right to vote by absentee ballot in New Hampshire?

Not many do. But some lawmakers are hoping to change that.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

People who register to vote in New Hampshire and plan to drive here will have to obtain an in-state drivers license within 60 days of registering, if not sooner, according to guidance issued by state agencies who enforce elections administration and driving laws. 

NHPR

(Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from the couple charged with the voting violations.)

A couple who split their time between New Hampshire and Massachusetts pled guilty on Monday to charges that they voted in both states during the November 2016 election, but they told NHPR they only did so to avoid prolonging an already onerous court battle with the state. 

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

State attorneys have been in court the past two weeks defending a new voter registration law known as Senate Bill 3. 

The trial is part of an ongoing debate about voting rights in New Hampshire. NHPR's Casey McDermott has been following the issue closely. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with McDermott about what happens next.

(Editor's note: this transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

Okay, first, can you remind us what this law is all about and what it changed to the voting registration process?

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Two college students who are suing the state over its new voter registration rules took the stand on Thursday as part of an ongoing trial over the future of the law behind them. While both students said they found the law confusing, both acknowledged that it did not prevent them from registering to vote.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

A trial over the voter registration law known as Senate Bill 3 continued in Hillsborough County Superior Court on Wednesday.

The League of Women Voters of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Democratic Party are suing the state over the 2017 law, which added new language to voter registration forms and new steps to the process asking people to prove they live in the community where they’re trying to vote.

NHPR Staff

The legal challenge to the 2017 GOP-backed voting law known as Senate Bill 3 went to trial today in Superior Court in Manchester.

The law tightened rules for people registering to vote in New Hampshire, requiring them to provide documents proving their residency if they register within 30 days of an election.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

A federal judge has denied a request from the American Civil Liberties Union and the state Democratic Party to block enforcement of a new New Hampshire residency law, but has asked the state Supreme Court to clear up several questions about how the law works.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

The implications of New Hampshire’s new residency law for voting and vehicle licensing are still not fully clear, several months after it went into effect and several months before the state’s presidential primary election.

So much about the new residency law remains subject to interpretation, in fact, that a federal judge wants the New Hampshire Supreme Court to certify — or clarify — several questions about how the law works before he tries to assess its constitutionality.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A lawsuit over a controversial new residency law is back in court Thursday morning, this time to decide whether the state could be blocked from enforcing any link between voter registration and vehicle licensing through the 2020 presidential primary election.

Ali Oshinskie / NHPR

Lawyers for the ACLU of New Hampshire and the state’s Department of Justice met Wednesday for the latest hearing in a federal court case over a Republican-backed law that alters the definition of who qualifies as a state resident. 

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: October 25, 2019

Oct 24, 2019

The next legislative session doesn't begin until January, but intriguing legislation is being shaped now in committee meetings at the statehouse, including banning assault weapons and importing low-cost drugs.  Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky officially enters the race for governor.  Municipal aid payments, part of the budget compromise, begin reaching cities and towns. And vaping devices are included in some N.H. city's drug take-back day. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

If you're a New Hampshire voter who plans to participate in the 2020 presidential primary, you’ll want to double check your party registration this week. This Friday, Oct. 25, is the last day to make any changes to your party registration before the election. 

State offices that oversee elections and motor vehicle laws have declined to explain what implications, if any, New Hampshire’s new residency standards would have on licensing requirements. That’s despite growing confusion over whether the law could require voters to obtain in-state drivers licenses after casting a ballot.   

While the state has not said definitively that people who vote in New Hampshire would have to get a New Hampshire drivers license under the new law, there are ways to measure how many people could be affected if this turns out to be the case.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: September 20, 2019

Sep 20, 2019

An historic number of vetoes by Governor Sununu means the legislature revisits bills on gun control, voting access laws, alternative energy and more. We get an update on continuing negotiations over the state budget.  And with a Global Climate Strike taking place Friday, we find out how New Hampshire students are participating. 

GUESTS:

Casey McDermott, NHPR

New Hampshire is heading into a busy election season, with municipal contests in November, and the first-in-the-nation presidential primary not far behind. This is the first election season since a new law went into effect that redefined the state’s residency standards.

Supporters have said that the law would bring clarity to New Hampshire’s voting rules, but it’s facing a court challenge from the ACLU and the New Hampshire Democratic Party, who say it will discourage otherwise qualified people from voting.

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

 

Judge Joseph Laplante says a challenge to New Hampshire's new voter residency law can move forward, and he rejected an effort to remove Secretary of State Bill Gardner as a defendant in the case.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

When they were knocking on doors in Manchester’s Ward 4 ahead of last fall's elections, Reps. Nicole Klein-Knight and Donald Bouchard kept hearing from people who claimed they were ineligible to vote because of past criminal records.

NHPR Staff

The New Hampshire Senate has moved to rollback a new law Democrats argue amounts to voter suppression.

The law that takes effect in July will end the state's distinction between domicile and residency for voting purposes, which means out-of-state college students who vote in New Hampshire would also be subject to residency requirements, such as getting New Hampshire driver's licenses or registering their cars.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

A bill that would essentially repeal a controversial, Republican-backed election law passed the New Hampshire Senate on Thursday.

 

The bill, which has already passed the New Hampshire House, would roll back a two-year old law that requires new voters to show documentation they live in the state.

 

The law, known as SB 3, passed in 2017 and has since been the subject of lawsuits by Democrats and others who said it created unnecessary hurdles for new voters.

 

Rebecca Lavoie, NHPR

Summer is approaching, but New Hampshire lawmakers are still thinking about snow.

The House gave final approval last week to a bill that would settle the thorny issue of who has the power to postpone town elections in the event of bad weather.

The legislation was introduced after snowstorms caused problems for town meetings and elections in both March 2017 and last year.

Some town moderators decided to postpone their elections, but the secretary of state said they did not have that power.

Sara Plourde; NHPR

Every ten years, states redefine the boundaries that determine congressional and legislative seats, as well as local offices.  This year, a bill in New Hampshire aims to reduce gerrymandering, the practice of configuring lines to gain partisan advantage.  We look at this proposal, and our current political maps, and conversations around gerrymandering nationally.

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.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: April 19, 2019

Apr 18, 2019

We find out how Granite Staters are reacting to the release of the Mueller report, and how it is playing out on the campaign trail with 2020 candidates. Secretary of State Bill Gardner urges lawmakers to go slow when it comes to undoing voting laws enacted by the last Legislature. And the Senate backs a bipartisan plan to expand net energy metering in New Hampshire by a veto-proof margin. 

There are nearly 60 election-related bills in the New Hampshire legislature this session, many of which reflect national conversations around election issues.  The Exchange discussed redistricting and voting technology with Casey McDermott, NHPR's reporter covering politics and policy, and Jessica Huseman, election reporter from Politico.  

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

In the first legislative session after the midterm elections, New Hampshire, like other states, has introduced a number of measures to improve voting security, ballot access, and redistricting. What do voting-related bills in New Hampshire and nationwide say about the biggest concerns surrounding our election system?

Lara Bricker for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers considered a bill in Concord Wednesday that would give municipalities more flexibility in the timing of elections. After two years straight of significant snowstorms on town election day, many moderators throughout the state called for a postponement provision, citing transportation concerns.

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

Battles over ballot access have been raging for decades at the New Hampshire State House, and this year is no exception.

Cori Princell for NHPR

The U.S. Justice Department says it's resolved a complaint with the city of Concord stemming from 2015 alleging that the city failed to provide an accessible voting machine for a voter who is blind.

Click here for NHPR's previous coverage of this story.

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