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New SB 3 Amendment Could Sent Vigilantes To Verify Residency

Amended Version of SB 3 Much Worse Than Original Bill, Still Sends Police to Voter Doors and Now Authorizes Vigilantes Too

In a rushed amendment vote, Senate Republicans try to replace section of bill that caused largest public outcry but instead leave same result and 10x worse 

Concord, NH – The NH Senate Election Law committee amended SB 3 on Tuesday to remove sending police to voter doors by name, but the amended version uses covert language to still actually allow the supervisor of the checklist to send police to your door – and now goes even further by allowing them to deputize the local town conspiracy theorist or vigilante group to do it as well.

There’s a section in the amended SB 3, as passed by Senate Republicans on the Election Law Committee yesterday, that states “agents” can be sent to voter doors to verify that they live there. There is no limit on who can be designated an agent for this purpose, nor are there any provisions for proper training or how to conduct these checks; an open carry activist or an individual ideologically opposed to college students voting could be among those deputized.

In the latest version of SB 3 the following was removed: “Requesting local law enforcement during their routine patrols to visit the address and verify that the individual was domiciled there on election day” and the bill language modified from “Requesting 2 or more supervisors or other municipal officials to visit the address and verify that the individual was domiciled there on election day” to “Requesting 2 or more supervisors or municipal, county, or state election officers or their agents to visit the address and verify that the individual was domiciled  there on election day.” (SB 3 Amendment #2017-0978s, Senate Election Law Executive Session on Tuesday, March 21, 2017)

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“SB 3 has been poorly written from the start but this latest amendment makes it ten times worse. Senate Republicans attempted to quiet public outcry over the provision of sending police officers to voter doors but in doing so they passed an amendment that actually allows that and more. Under the amended version, checklist supervisors can still send law enforcement or they can deputize others to conduct the checks, which could include deputizing voter suppression activists or even vigilante groups. In fact, there are now no limits whatsoever on whom they could send. It is shameful that Senate Republicans took credit during committee for removing the police officer provision by name while simultaneously opening the back door for the same activity and worse. SB 3 is nothing more than an attack on voting rights. It creates a poll tax by requiring financial transactions for many of the verifiable acts listed, and it penalizes voters $5,000 for being a day late with paperwork even if they did nothing wrong when registering to vote. In the hours-long public hearing, testimony highlighted that the bill will disproportionately impact eligible voters including students, low-income people, homeless veterans, and domestic violence survivors. New Hampshire politicians have many more pressing issues to deal with than needlessly attacking voting rights with harmful bills like SB 3.” 

Senate Republicans offered the amendment in committee Tuesday morning and called a vote less than 30 minutes later, denying Senate Democrats and voting rights advocates an opportunity to review the language and provide feedback prior to the vote. It is unclear whether the poorly written amendment was intentional or a result of Senate Republicans jamming the bill forward without regard for public input or voter impact.

Does Havenstein Even Qualify For Candidacy In The NH GOV Race?

The NH Governor’s race just got a little more interesting, and more controversial.  Last week, multi-millionaire and former CEO of BAE Systems, Walt Havenstein, announced his candidacy for Governor.

“Our state is at a critical juncture, and I believe my experience, ideas, and leadership are what is needed to address the many challenges facing New Hampshire,” Havenstein told the Union Leader.

Havenstein has some major issues to deal with first.  After retiring from BAE, Havenstein moved to Maryland.  He still kept his house in Alton, but bought a multi-million dollar condo in Bethesda, Maryland where he has lived for the last few years.  Havenstein’s residency has created a firestorm of questions about his eligibility to run for office in New Hampshire.

The Nashua Telegraph explains, “The state constitution requires candidates for governor, state senate and Executive Council to live in the state for seven years before they run for the office.”

There is no doubt that Havenstein has owned property in New Hampshire for more than seven years, but did he “live” here?  The answer is resounding no.

After moving to Maryland, Havenstein filed for a homestead exemption on his million-dollar condo.  The tax exemption saved Havenstein thousands of dollars in Maryland property taxes.

Under Maryland law, “principal residence” has been defined to mean the “one dwelling where the homeowner regularly resides and is the location designated by the owner for the legal purposes of voting, obtaining a driver’s license, and filing income tax returns.”

A Maryland law was enacted in 2007 that requires all homeowners to submit an application stating that they meet the principal residence requirements, under penalty of perjury.  According to the Nashua Telegraph, “Havenstein said he didn’t recall signing that form.”

“Despite Walt Havenstein’s selective memory, in order to receive the tax breaks he received, Maryland law required Havenstein to certify that his Maryland home was his principal residence, including for voting, paying taxes, driver’s license and car registration,” said Julie McClain, NHDP Communications Director. “That certification and Maryland law clearly makes Havenstein ineligible to run for state office under New Hampshire’s Constitution. For him to state otherwise is to assert that he was committing tax fraud in Maryland, raising a whole other set of legal questions for Mr. Havenstein.”

So which is it? Is Havenstein eligible to run for NH Governor and committed tax fraud in Maryland, or is he ineligible to run because he is not a resident of New Hampshire?

Either way Mr. Havenstein is in deep trouble.  He could be facing legal problems for fraud and tax evasion in Maryland, but that is not the real problem.  How can anyone trust Mr. Havenstein as governor if he is willing to lie and cheat to run for office?  Every day that he continues to run for governor, his credibility continues to fall apart.

As former Senator Scott Brown is quickly learning, Granite Staters do not like people from other states telling them what to do.

[Fun fact: Scott Brown would be ineligible to run for NH Senate, Exec. Council, or Governor in NH due to residency requirements in NH Constitution, yet he can run for the representative from NH to the US Senate.]

We do not like these out-of-state carpetbaggers coming here and telling us, “We know how you feel, we are Granite Staters too.” No, you do not know how we feel! Just because you own a second home in New Hampshire does not make you a Granite Stater.  Did you have to shovel the 70+ inches of snow we in the Granite State got this winter? Mr. Havenstein, where were you last year when the winter thaw revealed our roads were falling apart?

Not here, that’s for sure!

How can anyone who does not truly live here begin to think that they know what real life is like in NH.  Mr. Havenstein, just go back to Maryland where you obviously live, and we will see you this summer with the rest of the tourists.

 

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