CONCORD, NH –Voting rights organizations applauded the New Hampshire Legislature’s adoption of the compromise voter ID bill that came out of negotiations between the House and Senate last week. The League of Women Voters New Hampshire, America Votes, the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union and Granite State Progress all have a history of active engagement in education and advocacy efforts for voters in New Hampshire.
“This compromise legislation removes the worst provisions of the voter ID law adopted by the previous Legislature,” said Joan Flood Ashwell, election law specialist for the League of Women Voters New Hampshire. “The law passed today repeals some provisions of the current law that were set to go into effect this September. Instead of accepting just four kinds of federal and state photo IDs this September, this compromise retains many of the photo IDs and some other provisions of last November’s voter ID law.”
“We’re pleased that the House and Senate were able to overcome their serious differences and agree to make changes to the voter ID law adopted last year,” said Jess Clark, executive director of America Votes NH. “The cost and complexity of the original law were of huge concern to election officials as well as voting rights groups. This compromise will make it easier for qualified voters to meet ID requirements and will save towns from the headache and expense of trying to take photos of voters during busy Election Days.”
“Voter ID legislation not only harms students but senior citizens as well. A new provision in the compromise will allow voters over the age of 65 to use an expired driver’s or non-driver’s photo ID, expired passport, or expired military ID,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “This is an important protection as many senior citizens no longer drive or travel but have otherwise valid forms of identification. Without the compromise voter ID law, those senior citizens would have been required to take a voter mug shot on Election Day. Granny voter mug shots are the wrong policy for New Hampshire and we’re pleased the compromise bill is a more stream-lined and considerate way of ensuring our elders can continue to vote.”
“New Hampshire should be doing all it can to encourage eligible voters in our state to exercise their fundamental right to vote. The bill passed by the legislature today is an important first step in that direction,” said Devon Chaffee, executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. “Going forward we expect New Hampshire officials to continue to work to remove all unnecessary barriers to the polls.”