Majority of Republicans Pass More Legislation to Disenfranchise Voters

Contact Name: Marina Altschiller

Phone: (603) 271-3375

Email:marina.altschiller@leg.state.nh.us

CONCORD - Today, all but one of the Senate Republicans voted to adopt SB 418, a bill that disenfranchises the vote of our Armed Services members serving overseas, runs afoul of the Constitution, and effectively adopts provisional ballot voting in New Hampshire, threatening our First-in-the-Nation Primary. Senator Ruth Ward (R-Stoddard) was the only Republican to join Senate Democrats in opposing the measure.


After the vote, Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy (D-Manchester) issued the following statement:


“This bill is premised on the false and dangerous narrative that New Hampshire Elections are not safe, secure, or trustworthy, despite there being zero evidence of any widespread voter fraud in New Hampshire. Most alarmingly, this bill will disenfranchise members of our Armed Forces serving overseas. With our late primary, passage of SB 418 will delay the Secretary of State’s ability to comply with federal law, and we will effectively be disenfranchising the ability of our military personnel serving overseas to vote.


New Hampshire courts have repeatedly and resoundingly rejected claims that systemic voter fraud exists in New Hampshire and have held that it does not create a compelling state interest.


Here in New Hampshire, we do elections right. If we adopt provisional ballots–which is exactly what this bill does–and we have election results come out and then change them 10 days later, it impairs our stature as the First-in-the-Nation Presidential Primary, and undermines our credibility. This bill would needlessly erode confidence in our elections.”


Senator Rebecca Perkins (D-Portsmouth) added the following:

“We all have pride in our elections here in New Hampshire. They are free and fair, allowing us to hold on to the First-in-the-Nation Primary. The Secretary of State’s Office has long held that Article 32 of the NH Constitution requires that all votes be counted in one sitting on election day, and that the clerk must make a record of that vote and send it to the Secretary of State within 5 days of the election. SB 418 would therefore be unconstitutional because the final count would not be completed until 14 days after the election, jeopardizing our First-in-the-Nation Primary.


Not only that, this bill would require the Secretary of State’s office to send out a prepaid U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail Express overnight delivery envelope for affidavit voters to return their verification letter and any required missing documentation. It currently costs $27.95 to send one piece of certified mail. While the fiscal note says the costs associated with this bill are indeterminable, this is going to be immensely expensive.

We don’t have a problem with our elections in New Hampshire. This bill is a solution in search of a problem, and will have chilling consequences for New Hampshire elections. I am deeply disappointed in today’s vote by my Republican colleagues to disenfranchise our electorate. We should be making it easier, not harder, to vote.”


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