People For the American Way Foundation

UPDATE: Voting rights victory in New Hampshire

UPDATE: The New Hampshire legislature has overridden Governor Lynch’s veto on SB 289 by an 18-5 margin in the Senate and 231-112 in the House. The SB 318 veto fell along similar lines, 18-5 and 232-110, respectively. Both are now on the books, but at least voter ID still has to be cleared by the Department of Justice.

With voting rights under attack nationwide it was refreshing to see New Hampshire Governor John Lynch veto two bills last week that would have required identification at the polls and profoundly impacted voter registration.

SB 289 was voter ID lite requiring voters unable to provide ID to sign an affidavit and have their photo taken, and after 2013, accepting as valid only state-issued IDs like a driver’s license, military ID, or passport, and rejecting student IDs.

Governor Lynch:

The right to vote is a fundamental right that is guaranteed to all citizens of this State under the United States and New Hampshire Constitutions. Our election laws must be designed to encourage and facilitate voting by all eligible voters in New Hampshire. […] SB 289 would put into place a photo identification system that is far more restrictive than necessary.

SB 318 would have altered residency requirements and other voter registration regulations that could have had a profound impact, especially among the student population. Its lead sponsor, Senator Sharon Carson, is an ALEC member who also supported SB 289.

Governor Lynch:

Persons who are 18 and older who attend college in New Hampshire should be able to vote regardless of where they drive or have a license. This provision is overly broad and will effectively require resident seniors, as well as retirees and young persons coming from out of state, to register a car and apply for a New Hampshire license in order to vote. […] Any changes to our voting procedures must ensure a person’s constitutional right to vote is protected. This bill does not meet that test.

An attempt to override both vetoes is expected tomorrow, requiring a two-thirds majority.

In the meantime, check out The Right to Vote under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box, a Right Wing Watch: In Focus report by PFAW Foundation.


112th Congress, ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council, Department of Justice, DOJ, John Lynch, Policy Corner, public policy, Sharon Carson, Student Voting, voter ID, Voter Registration, voter suppression, voting rights