Since the 2010 election, there has been an emergence of the Voter ID laws throughout the nation. Many of these laws were popping up in many Republican controlled legislatures and New Hampshire was no exception. This occurred in part due to the model legislation written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), that was then (mainly) introduced by conservative legislators across the country.
The Voter ID Law in NH was worked by both the House and Senate over the past session, before being vetoed – twice – by Governor Lynch. With more than a three to one majority in the NH Legislature, this year’s veto was overridden and the new Voter ID became law.
The most important part of NH’s Voter ID law is that no voter can be turned away – this year. This means even if you do not have an ID you can still vote and your vote will count. In order for this to happen you must sign an affidavit that states you are who you say you are.
The news about the Voter ID’s Primary Day trial run failure is coming in so fast that it may be hard to keep track. First there was a report from America Votes, that voters were being turned away. “New Photo ID Law Wreaks Havoc During State Primary”
The majority of the problems surrounding the Primary Day debacle was that voters were being turned away. According to America Votes, “a Manchester voter had been turned away without a ballot because they didn’t have their ID with them”. This is exactly what legislators said would not happen in NH.
America Votes quickly blamed the state for rushing the implementation of this new law saying: “New Hampshire clearly isn’t prepared to implement this law without further disenfranchising Granite State voters.”
Remember this was only the Primary. New Hampshire had approximately 190,000 people vote in the primary election. That is a fraction of the 1.3 million who current live here. I can only image what will happen on November 6th. In 2008 New Hampshire cast over 700,000 votes in the Presidential Election. If this election is anything like last year there will be massive lines just to vote. Now add in the confusion of the people who do not have ID’s and still want to vote. Or worse are told to ‘go get your ID then get back in line’. Many people would not come back.
To add insult to injury many voters were given misinformation about the new Voter ID law. Telling people that if they did not have an ID they could not vote in November.
Why is this happening? Why are election workers telling people the wrong information? My guess is that because they do not know the truth, and they have not been properly trained on how to implement this new law. It is important to note that New Hampshire has NO funding designated to train election workers on the proper way to administer the new laws.
Since there is no money to train workers, you can be darn sure there is no money to explain to the people of New Hampshire how these new laws work. But isn’t that what they want? They want people who do not have ID’s to stay home and not vote. These people could be college students who are living in New Hampshire and attending one our outstanding Universities, or an elderly person who no longer drives and has no need for a state drivers license.
The story does not end there. The League of Women Voters and the American Civil Liberties Union are going after the state for changes to the law the specifically target students. “There’s been a number of attempts over the last few years to keep certain qualified citizens from voting in New Hampshire, and students have been the particular topics of most of those attempts,” said Joan Ashwell, a voting law expert with the League.
These are the same voters that NH House Speaker Bill O’Brien famously said ‘kids are coming out of the school….foolish voting as a liberal(s)’.
New Hampshire is clearly not ready to institute these new voting laws. If they continue with this plan countless numbers of Granite Stater’s will more than likely be turned away from the polls and therefore refused their Constitutional Right to vote. I though this was the ‘Live Free or Die’ state not the ‘I make the rules and you don’t get a vote anymore’.