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Young Democrat Candidates Clinch Municipal Seats Across New Hampshire

Historic night capped with a sweep of all 3 at large Nashua seats

Manchester, NH– Last night, 16 New Hampshire Young Democrats from 7 cities were elected to municipal offices across New Hampshire. Celebrating this unprecedented wave of victories, the New Hampshire Young Democrats issued the following press release:

“Millennials across New Hampshire aren’t waiting around for others to make the change we need to make our state better. They are ready to lead and to make our communities thrive. They’re ready to stand up and keep New Hampshire the best place in the country to stay, work, learn, and start a family. When young people are elected and bring fresh new ideas to local government, our communities are better for it,” said NHYD President Lucas Meyer. “We are sick and tired of seeing our peers moving out of state because of short-sighted decisions made by out of touch politicians like forcing tuition hikes at our universities, restricting our ability to vote, lack of sensible transportation options like commuter rail and seemingly annual threats to basic women’s healthcare. Tonight we applaud the passion of all young candidates who ran this year and we celebrate those who were victorious tonight. We are excited to support their agendas as they take office next year and we look forward to continuing to help recruit, train, and elect more young people to state offices in New Hampshire in 2018.

The New Hampshire Young Democrats are the only statewide group organizing millennial Democrats. The NHYDs work to activate, engage, and train youth in state and local politics. The NH Young Democrats provided support, training, and resources to candidates running in municipal elections throughout the state through their 603-Forward Program. Started in 2008, this program helps identify and elect young candidates to local and state offices. Across the state, the NHYDs activated 200 of our volunteers, organized over 50 canvass launches and phonebanks, 4 days of action, and multiple trainings to help create the grassroots infrastructure needed to win these competitive races. Additionally, the NHYDs invested unprecedented amounts of resources into our endorsed candidates races in order to run aggressive digital and GOTV texting campaigns to turn out democratic and independent voters in an off year election.

“We had over 30 young people run for municipal office this year, with 20 running in Manchester alone, many of them first-time candidates,” said NHYD 603-Forward Program Director Theo Groh. “New Hampshire cities and towns have long struggled to figure out how to attract young families and keep young people in their communities. Who could know more about how do that then this incredibly hardworking group of newly elected young leaders?” he continued “We are so proud as an organization to have been be able to develop the infrastructure to help these great candidates run.”

Winning Candidates:

Erika Connors, State Representative Special Election, Manchester Ward 8*#
Shoshanna Kelly, Alderwoman-at-large, Nashua (first woman of color to serve as at large alderman) *#
Dave Tencza, Alderman-at-large, Nashua*#
Brandon Laws, Alderman-at-large, Nashua*#
Josh Denton, City Council-at-large, Portsmouth
Lindsey Williams, City Council-at-large, Dover*
Ed Levasseur, City Council-at-large, Somersworth*
Maggie Rice, City Council, Keene *
Jeremy Hutchinson, City Council, Rochester*#
Zachary Kohler, School Board, Dover*
Heather Raymond, School Board, Nashua*#
Marissa Chase, Selectman, Manchester*
Caitlin Curran, Selectman, Manchester*
Jeremy Paris, Selectman, Manchester*
Kate Marquis, Selectman, Manchester*
Karen Ladd, Clerk, Manchester
*=First time candidate
$= Red to Blue Flip

Coalition And Activists Call On Governor Sununu To Veto Voter Suppression Bill SB3

Legislators Fail to Stand Up for Voting Rights, Local Control of Elections

CONCORD – The New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights urges New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu to veto SB3 following its passage in the state House today. Passing narrowly on a 191-162 vote, SB3 will create an unfunded mandate for cities and towns and long lines for same-day registration.

Sununu’s veto would be a show of support for the constitutional right of all eligible residents in New Hampshire to participate in our elections.

SB3 severely tightens qualifications for voting in New Hampshire and potentially criminalizes legitimate same-day registration voters who know they cannot provide proof that they have performed a so-called “verifiable act,” such as buying a home or entering a formal lease — thereby effectively disenfranchising elderly, low income, and other vulnerable citizens, especially those who move in the months before an election and are unable to obtain sufficient proof. Under SB3, a voter who knowingly fails to provide evidence of domicile within 10 days faces a fine up to $5,000.

Hundreds of activists worked around the clock after a record number of 40 bills pertaining to voting rights, were filed this legislative session. Next Wave organizations such as Indivisible and Kent Street Coalition went to work and joined over 10 permanent advocacy organizations in an effort that powered a grassroots movement. The campaign included 22 nights of phone banks hosted across the state filling 274 volunteer shifts powered by 134 volunteers. Patch through phone calls generated 478 calls to state Senators and 855 calls to state House members. Meanwhile 246 postcards reached 22 Senators and 795 postcards reached 258 House members. Approximately 500 voters attended SB 3’s two marathon hearings, the House hearing becoming one of the longest voting rights hearings in recent history. Finally, volunteers called every Town Clerk, Moderator and Supervisors of the Checklist, over 600 across the state, to educate them on how SB 3 would unfairly impact towns and cities.

“Hundreds of ordinary people, not previously politically involved, worked to defeat SB3, as they saw the bill for what it was, a serious attempt to make voting in New Hampshire more difficult for many eligible voters,” said Linda Rhodes, Co-Chair of Indivisible New Hampshire. “It’s a sad day when the New Hampshire Legislature, instead of modernizing voting and making it more accessible and transparent, makes voting harder for citizens. Our volunteers will now turn our attention to making sure that our voter registration drives get into high gear, and you can be sure we will be trying to replace the New Hampshire Representatives who voted in favor of SB3.”

“SB 3 got many of us to the State House for the first time, said Louise Spencer, leader of Kent Street Coalition.” “Voting is the most fundamental of our democratic rights and we weren’t willing to see this right legislated away.  So we began showing up – attending hearings, talking to representatives in the hallways, testifying before committees. We are paying more attention than ever to what is happening here in Concord and we intend to hold our legislators accountable on voting rights.”

“The 2017 Legislative Session was a wakeup call for community members around the state,” said Paula Hodges, America Votes NH State Director. “SB3 is only the beginning of a resistance movement that is powering actions in living rooms and town halls across the Granite State. New Hampshire has a proud tradition of inclusive civic engagement and SB3 flies in the face of that tradition. We are sad to see that the New Hampshire Secretary of State did not listen to the concerns of our cities and towns and the election volunteers who do the real work on Election Day. We didn’t send politicians to Concord to mess with voting rights and they will be hearing from their constituents on this vote all Summer.”

“Senate Bill 3 accomplishes one thing: the disenfranchisement and intimidation of thousands of young voters across New Hampshire. Our state’s real problem isn’t voter fraud, it is attracting and retaining young people to live, study, work, and raise families here,” said University of New Hampshire student Eli Tyrrel-Walker. “Despite hours of powerful testimony from countless young voters who see this bill as an assault on their, and their peers, ability to vote and take part in the democratic process Republican leadership decided to ignore our voices. Any measure that works to disenfranchise young people from participating in our vibrant civic culture is counterproductive and will only hurt our state.”

No local election officials supported the bill after hours of testimony in both the House and Senate and were not engaged in the drafting of the legislation. SB3 will jam lines at the polls, as some voters will have to fill out pages of additional paperwork.

“The reforms proposed in SB3 are not reforms that local election officials were looking for.  I find it interesting that the majority party that is always touting local control, doesn’t trust locally elected and sworn election officials to carry out this sacred duty? Every election official from Town and City Clerks to Ballot Clerk take this duty very seriously,” said Jim Tetreault, Town Clerk/Tax Collector, Town of Winchester.

“People shouldn’t be fined for exercising their right to vote and doing nothing wrong other than not returning to a government agency with certain paperwork—paperwork that these legitimate voters may not have,” said Gilles Bissonnette, Legal Director of the ACLU of NH. “SB 3 is also a violation of voters’ privacy by sending government agents to voters’ homes to check their documents. Requiring people to accept this government intrusion as a condition of voting will chill the right to vote.”

Aside from the Coalition, many others spoke out against the passage of SB3.

University of New Hampshire student Eli Tyrrel-Walker:

“Senate Bill 3 will accomplish one thing: the disenfranchisement and intimidation of thousands of young voters across New Hampshire. Our state’s real problem isn’t voter fraud, it is attracting and retaining young people to live, study, work, and raise families here. Despite hours of powerful testimony from countless young voters who see this bill as an assault on their ability to vote and take part in the democratic process, Republican leadership decided to ignore our voices. Any measure that works to disenfranchise young people from participating in our vibrant civic culture is counterproductive and will only hurt our state.”

House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook):

“Today’s vote in support of SB 3 was a partisan sabotage of the election process that will do nothing but confuse and intimidate new voters.  This legislation adds over 350 words to the registration form that new voters will be required to read, and swear to understand, with the pressure of a growing line behind them at the polls on Election Day.”

“Requiring voters to read and comprehend an entire essay at the polls is unnecessary, intimidating, and only complicates work of election officials who will be tasked with helping voters understand the registration requirements.”

“No local election officials testified in support of this bill because the current process works well.  SB 3 is an illogical solution in search of a problem that will increase bureaucracy and expenses on local taxpayers.”

“This legislation was clearly designed to placate those who buy into President Trump’s discredited assertion that fraud cost him the popular vote in New Hampshire.  Leaders from both parties denounced those assertions, and as we know from the reports released following every single New Hampshire election, voter fraud is not an issue in our state.”

“Our election officials deserve support for the hard work they do preserving the integrity of our elections.  Advancing the myth of ‘voter fraud’ is not only disrespectful to those who enforce our laws, it also threatens the confidence in our First in the Nation Presidential Primary.”

NHDP Chair Ray Buckley issued the following statement:

“Today, Governor Sununu and President Trump’s voter fraud lies definitively shaped New Hampshire law. Our voting system is already secure with no credible voter fraud, and Republican attempts to say otherwise are based in conspiracy theory. Voter suppression laws like SB3 are designed to drive down turnout and slow down lines. These voting roadblocks change the outcomes of our elections. Anytime we disenfranchise a single eligible voter, we are damaging the integrity of our elections. Governor Sununu and New Hampshire Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for propagating lies and legislation that undermine the integrity of our democratic process.”

On College Affordability, Senator Ayotte’s Record Fails

By New Hampshire Young Democrats Board

One of the most pressing issues for young people in New Hampshire and across the country continues to be the growing burden of student loan debt. It’s painfully clear that the cost of getting a college education is too high. For many, that cost can be prohibitive, barring would-be students looking to build a brighter future for themselves from ever setting foot on a campus. For many others, the only way to attend college is by taking out massive loans and incurring a debt that they will work to pay off for years to come.

The issue of college affordability and student loan debt is something that we hope will play a critical role in the 2016 elections. But, unfortunately, not every politician is serious about tackling this critical challenge for students and their families.

Senator Kelly Ayotte is one of those politicians. We’re confident that, as her re-election nears, Senator Ayotte is going to be paying a lot of lip service to the students and young people of New Hampshire. Given that, we want our fellow young Granite Staters to know the truth about the Senator’s record.

That truth is this: Senator Ayotte has voted, with excruciating regularity, to make college more expensive for New Hampshire students and families. And now, she is trying to use Washington tricks to deceive the voters of New Hampshire about her true record. But her deception won’t work.

Earlier this year, Senator Ayotte voted to cut the Pell Grant program, which gives qualifying low income students financial aid to help them pay for college, by a devastating $90 billion over the next decade.

And Senator Ayotte has voted to cut Pell Grants before – many times. In 2011 she voted for a Republican spending proposal that would have cut $12 million in the Pell Grants program for just New Hampshire, which would have impacted 21,000 Granite State students. Senator Ayotte also voted three separate times for the Ryan Budgets (in 2011, 2012, and 2013) that would all have cut Pell Grants. Each of those votes taken by Senator Ayotte was a vote to make it harder to afford a college education.

Senator Ayotte has also voted to end an expansion of the “Pay As You Earn Program,” an income-driven plan designed to help borrowers avoid defaulting on their loans by capping their monthly loan payments at ten percent of their income. Because of that vote, student loan payments by those in the program stand to double.

If our leaders want a strong, skilled workforce for the 21st century, they should be making college more affordable and accessible. If they want young people to invest in the economy and have the same economic opportunities that their parents did, they should be making it easier for college graduates to pay off their student loan debts. Senator Ayotte has consistently done just the opposite since going to the Senate.

We expect that Senator Ayotte is going to be talking a lot about college affordability in the upcoming election because she will be opportunistically courting young NH voters while trying to distance herself from her voting record. So, we want Granite Staters to know the truth. Despite Senator Ayotte’s best efforts, it won’t take a college math class to see that her record is one of repeatedly voting to make college more expensive for New Hampshire students.

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