Concord, NH – The New Hampshire House voted inexpedient to legislate 233-131 today on HB 404, relative to showing a ballot. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins
“Granite State Progress congratulates the New Hampshire House on this strong vote in favor of voter protection. HB 404 would have opened a slippery slope to voter intimidation and harassment, as well as social pressure to vote for a particular candidate or cause. New Hampshire’s current law protects an individual’s right to vote for the candidate or issue they feel most strongly about, without feeling accountable to anyone else. There are already several other ways for a voter to publicly show their support for a candidate – they can attend rallies, sign petitions, hold signs, distribute information, and publicly declare their intent to vote for or state that they actually did cast a ballot for a particular candidate. All New Hampshire’s law does is protect the privacy and secrecy of an individual’s actual vote by making it illegal to show or distribute pictures of one’s actual ballot.”
“This is not a freedom of speech issue as some may try to suggest as there are limitless other ways to demonstrate support for a candidate. There is one – and only one – thing that ballot selfies provide that other forms of democratic expression do not, and that is proof of your vote. New Hampshire should not endorse methods of proving who you voted for to others, and the House made the right decision with this vote.”
A copy of Granite State Progress testimony in opposition to HB 404 can be found online at http://www.granitestateprogress.org/press-release/statement-nh-house-voting-down-hb-404-ballot-selfies. It includes seemingly innocent examples of social pressure that could unfortunately harm the democratic process if ballot selfies were allowed.
About GSP and voter protection: Granite State Progress and its sister organization Granite State Progress Education Fund provide several forms of voter education and voter protection in New Hampshire – including publishing easy to access and understandable vote records of state legislators, hosting a website with information on how to register and rights at the polls, and manning a voter protection hotline on Election Day. Granite State Progress opposed both HB 404 and similar legislation HB 228, which will have a floor vote later today.
Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Press releases and other information available online atwww.GraniteStateProgress.org.