Testimony Opposing SB 3 as Passed on a Party Line Vote in the Senate
To Honorable Members of the House Election Law Committee:
A former teacher and reporter, I have been involved with NH voting rights and election integrity issues since early 2008. Both branches of my family have deep roots in NH. At least 12 NH ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War.
1. Students who attend school in NH should be able to vote here without having to register their car. Students were “counted” where they were living on April 1, 2010 and those numbers were included in determining representative districts and federal grant money.
2. Campaign workers who are here for political campaigns only should NOT vote in NH. Agreement among the political parties would be preferable to passing a “law.”
3. Research conducted by the NH Civil Liberties Union in 2015 found no evidence of double voting or “voter fraud” that this bill is SUPPOSED to prevent. At lease one example cited by Sen. Birdsell in her endorsement of the bill ( a woman who had voted for her deceased husband.probably by absentee ballot) would already be covered by current law, if enforced. Unfortunately, she refused to share the “evidence” of voter fraud she received from the Secretary of State, but I believe current law would be adequate to deal with those cases as well.
4. It appears that this proposed “law” models what Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has done. So far, the “results” (9 voters charged, 8 of them Republicans) do not seem to be worth the cost in time and resources, especially when, if passed, will likely face legal action and drain the NH’s limited financial and people resources (Attorney General’s time).
I am concerned about the possible disenfranchisement of voters now that NH will use Kobach’s Crosscheck program. He is not the model we should follow.
5. People registering to vote in NH should not have to pay to have a lawyer present when they do. The language in the amended version is extremely confusing and appears to contradict itself. It SAYS students can vote here, but then makes it likely they would be violating the law if they did. That is a hugely unfair burden on ANY voter, especially the ones more likely to be short-term residents of particular communities, even if they would CHOOSE to stay if they could.
6. Since I followed both the Rivers and Guare cases, this “law” appears to violate the same constitutional rights cited there, NH CONST., pt. 1, art. 1; art,, 2; art. 10; art. 11; art. 14 and US CONST. Amen. XIV, sect. 1; US CONST. Amen. XXIV, sect. 1. The state already lost those cases. Is it necessary to fight it and lose again? Public trust in our government and in you is lost at the same time.
7. This is a definite step backwards for voting rights and our inalienable right to free and fair elections in NH. I urge the committee to recommend ITL and make sure ANY law curtailing voting rights is narrowly tailored to achieve a specific and LEGITIMATE objective. Suppressing votes for a particular political party, as it appears is the REAL intention of this bill, is discriminatory, illegitimate and unconstitutional.