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Sign The Petition To The NH Senate To Pass HB595 (VoterID) As It Was Introduced

The NH Senate voted to restrict the number of allowable ID in HB 595 (Voter ID).  The Senate also made some amendments to the bill forcing a ‘committee of conference’ with the NH House.

They want to force polling places to take a picture of you with a digital camera if you do not have an ID. These cameras and training will cost the state nearly $11 million of dollars.   The Senate is cutting $20 million from Health and Human Services yet they want to spent $11 million dollars to buy cameras for every polling place in New Hampshire? What are their priorities if helping the low-income families looses to digital cameras to solve a Voter fraud problem that does not exist.

We need the Senate to come to their senses and compromise with the House to pass HB595 as it was introduced.

My good friend Jess has started a petition online to encourage all of these Senators to change their minds and compromise with the House on HB595.

Sign the petition here

The petition reads:
By Jessica Clark

I am writing today to ask you to go to a committee of conference and support HB 595 as introduced.

Making it harder to vote by restricting the number of IDs that were acceptable just one year ago isn’t fair and doesn’t make any sense. I ask you to restore all of the IDs that were acceptable in 2012 to get a ballot.

I also don’t want a mugshot of me or my neighbors if I only have one of the very few IDs that are acceptable. It will only cause long lines and cost us millions of dollars.

You are fighting for an unnecessary law that will cost New Hampshire $11 million in the short term, while at the same time you are drastically cutting essential health services for the elderly and disabled. You have misplaced priorities. You should be working to help Granite Staters instead of attacking voting rights in our state. The right to vote is important – no one should take away my right to vote.

NH Senate Flip-Flops On Voter ID Provisions. Advocate Spending $1 Million Dollars After Slashing HHS Budgets

Senate Republicans change position on expensive camera provision at the polls, whether student identification cards are an acceptable form of Voter ID 

Advocate to spend $1 million dollars on Voter ID law same week they drastically cut services for elderly and disabled, mental health community in New Hampshire  

CONCORD, NH – Senate Republican leaders are flip-flopping on key provisions of the Voter ID fix bill up for a Senate floor vote this week, advocating for measures they disapproved of last session and opposing provisions they supported.

The New Hampshire State Senate will vote on HB 595 as amended by the Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee on Thursday, May 23rd. The Senate amendment does not allow student identification cards or county and municipal identification cards to be used as acceptable forms of voter ID to obtain a ballot. In 2011 Senator Russell Prescott (R – Kingston) – who was the prime sponsor of the Voter ID law last session – testified in front of the House Election Law Committee that student identification cards should be included in the list of acceptable ID’s under the Voter ID law. He also testified that the Senate opposed wasting taxpayer dollars on the costly camera provision which requires colored photographs to be taken of individuals without acceptable forms of photo identification; this along with other phase II provisions of the Voter ID law are anticipated to cost the state nearly $1 million dollars over the next four years.

America Votes and Granite State Progress call on the Senate to not flip-flop on Voter ID provisions, and to instead prioritize Granite State families over costly Voter ID laws.

“It is unconscionable that the Senate would reverse their position and support one of the most restrictive ID laws in the country in order to target voters, specifically students, from exercising their right to vote,” said America Votes State Director Jessica Clark. “Even House Republicans agreed during recent committee meetings that we should not further restrict the forms of identification used during the last election, and not one person spoke in opposition.”

“Senate Republicans are fighting for an unnecessary law that will cost our state one million dollars in the short term alone, the same week they are drastically cutting essential health services for the elderly and disabled,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “Senate Republican leaders have misplaced priorities. They should be working to help Granite Staters instead of attacking voting rights in our state.”

GSP Video: State Senator Russell Prescott on Voter ID: Student ID’s Acceptable (http://youtu.be/CHzKHXg3gZY)

“On the topic of, do we in general, accept student identification? And that should be yes, we should.”

GSP Video: State Senator Russell Prescott on Voter ID: Student ID’s Acceptable (http://youtu.be/J2kpbchE2O4)

 “The Senate position believes that if a person fills out a challenged voter affidavit, they are taking a large responsibility upon telling the truth and there really is no need to accept the funds.”

Sen. Prescott testified before the NH House Election Law Committee, April 10, 2012. The Senate must pass legislation that alters the New Hampshire Voter ID law this session or only four types of ID will be accepted to obtain a ballot starting September 2013. Individuals without an acceptable form of Voter ID will be required to have a color photo taken by a poll worker.


**ICYMI: Nashua Telegraph today also reports:  “Young Democrats, Republicans align to ask for change to voter ID”

**NHLN post on college students opposing new voter ID changes include a letter from the NH Young Republicans and NH Young Democrats.

NH Young Democrats and Young Republicans Come Together To Oppose Voter ID Changes

Young Republicans and young Democrats come together to oppose Voter ID restrictions being debated in the NH Legislature.  The current debate is about stopping ‘phase two’ of the O’Brien legislation that would greatly reduce the number of allowable forms of identification.  This means that student IDs would no longer be valid.

This prompted a group of Republican and Democratic college students to come together to write a letter to the NH Legislature.  They have serious concerns about protecting the rights of students who want to vote, but do not attend a state school like Plymouth State.

Everyone should have the right to freely vote and these Voter ID restrictions are more about disenfranchising voters and protecting the process.  These students make a great point and the NH Senate would be wise to listen.

Dear Honorable Members of the New Hampshire General Court,

New Hampshire college students have long played a vital role in our first-in-the-nation primary and electoral process, ultimately becoming heavily invested participants in our democracy. In witnessing and hosting debates and forums on their campuses, volunteering on campaigns, and voting, it is imperative that New Hampshire students are continually encouraged to take part in our deeply valued tradition.

The currently proposed amendment to New Hampshire voter ID has caused much concern among many young voters across the Granite State, as those attending a private college in New Hampshire would be unfairly treated differently than those who attend a public university.

While our students who attend Plymouth State University or UNH would have no trouble using their student ID to vote, students attending Dartmouth College or Saint Anselm College would be turned away for using theirs.

As students from Saint Anselm College in particular, a school recognized statewide and across the country for its political activity, we are gravely concerned that such an amendment would diminish the involvement and opportunities that our students have long been afforded.

While we often have our differences on issues being debated in the State House in Concord or in Congress, we have nonetheless united to ensure the equal treatment of students in the New Hampshire electoral process with strong hopes that our counterparts in the State House and State Senate will do the same.


Jesse Imse, President, St. Anselm College Democrats

Tara Sennick, Chair, St. Anselm College Republicans

Jake Wagner, Chairman, NH College Republicans

Theo Groh, President, NH Young Democrats


NHLN Note: There is also a great article on Voter ID in the Nashua Telegraph. Check it out here. 

Voter ID: Yes It Is Unreasonable To Require ID To Vote

Today the Nashua Telegraph posted a letter to the editor entitled “It’s not unreasonable to require ID to vote”.  This letter is obviously pushing for an ID to vote.   The writer, W. B. Heffernan Jr. of Nashua, talks about how many people have ID’s to have their taxes done.

“My job is processing taxpayers seeking to get their tax returns prepared at no charge, and that job includes determining that they have valid photo IDs.

The program is open to all, but caters to seniors and low-income taxpayers. The latter category includes “minorities.” These people, who the “anti-voter ID crowd” claims will not be able to vote because they won’t have a valid photo ID, have no problem in presenting one to obtain free tax preparation.”

I find a few thing wrong with this. First you cannot say that the people who are using your program accurately represent the state of New Hampshire.  The state of New Hampshire is a relatively small state but W.B Heffernan could not possibly know all of the people in New Hampshire.  Talking to a few dozen or even a few hundred people at the Nashua Public Library does not represent all of New Hampshire.

In northern areas of New Hampshire it could be a 30-45 minutes to the nearest DMV office.  For a senior who does not drive, this is a waste of time and money.

My other problem with this is that at no point does W.B. Heffernan say what is a valid ID.  Right now the Voter ID law is scheduled to change.  Durning the 2012 elections the Voter ID law required an ID to vote or a signed affidavit saying that you are who who you say you are.   This generated over 20,000 signed affidavits from people in New Hampshire that did not have an ID and wanted to vote.  Those 20,000 are the ones who continued to vote without an ID.  There is no way of knowing how many people who do not have an ID did not even try to vote.

Under the current State Senate I highly doubt that the Voter ID will be fully repealed.  What we can do is stop the further implementation of the second phase of the law.   Phase two requires polling stations to take the picture of a person who do not have an ID.  This is very costly and does nothing.  Are they going to post the picture on Facebook asking ‘do you know this person?’   If they move forward with phase two it will cost the state thousands of dollars every year to buy digital camera for every polling station and the training associated with it.

The second major issue with phase two is what is considered a valid form of identification.  In 2012 there were many acceptable forms of identification including personal recognition and college IDs.  So for those who do not have an ID but have voted in the same place for years the moderator can vouch for them with personal recognition.  Not is phase two, it is unacceptable along with college IDs and municipal IDs.

If we cannot overturn the Voter ID law then we must fight to stop phase two of the Voter ID law as it is written.  It will do more to disenfranchise voters than actually stop the fictional voter fraud problem in New Hampshire.  Not to mention it will cost the state more money, which is a serious problem in itself.  Would you rather see more money cut from our community colleges to buy cameras for every polling station in New Hampshire to be used once or twice a year?  I do not.

Voting Rights Groups Support Repeal Of Voter ID Law

Voting rights groups including the League of Women Voters NH and America Votes spoke in support of HB 287, AN ACT eliminating voter identification requirements during a hearing at the House Election Law Committee yestreday

“The League of Women Voters strongly opposed adoption of the photo ID law and we oppose it, if possible, even more now that it’s been in effect for the primary elections and the Presidential election last November,” said Joan Flood Ashwell, Election Law Specialist for the League of Women Voters NH. “She added, ” The League of Women Voters urges the Legislature to repeal the photo ID law in its entirety. The law serves no legitimate purpose and it poses a real danger to the ability of citizens to exercise their most fundamental right – the right to vote.”

Jessica Clark, Political and Field Director for America Votes, said, ” Implementation and real cost of voter ID in 2012 was in reality much more than originally described. We do not know all of the additional costs and whether they came out of the general fund or the HAVA fund but we do know that during the 2013 organizational meeting of this committee Deputy Scanlan reported that 3500 staff hours were dedicated to implementation of voter ID.  That’s the equivalent of hiring two fulltime staff. The department also mailed 22,000 letters. We have yet to enter the phase of investigations but attorney staff time will be utilized further increasing the cost.”

Ron Geoffroy from the NH Alliance for Retired Americans was quoted in the NH Union Leader.

“Ron Geoffroy, senior executive vice president of the alliance, told the committee the repeal “would right a terrible wrong when it comes to New Hampshire seniors.”

He noted many elderly people give up their driver’s licenses and now have to find someone to drive them to the Division of Motor Vehicles to have a photo ID taken in order to vote.”  (Supporters, opponents voter ID repeal speak out at hearing)

From Kevin Landrigan at the Nashua Telegraph:

“Devon Chaffee executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, said some potential voters, particularly those who are elderly, the disabled or low-income citizens were still intimidated from voting.  “We don’t know how many voters may have stayed home or be chilled from the requirements,” Chaffee said. “What we do know is there was real confusion over the law.”

The truth is that Voter ID Laws are designed to make it hard for people to vote, and discourage voters from voting if they do no have a drivers license.   The Voter ID law has not really taken effect yet because during the last election you could not be turned away if you do not have a valid ID.  Even though there were reports that people were being told they needed an ID to vote.

There is no proof of Voter Fraud in NH.  The video that the NH GOP keeps referring to that proves we need Voter ID is actually a video of someone breaking the law and filming themselves doing it.  Now, James O’Keefe has not dared to set foot in NH because of the possible charges he would face.

We need to repeal the Voter ID law before more people are turned away from their Congressional right to vote.

Voter ID Impact on NH Taxpayers

When New Hampshire voters went to the polls this year they were asked to show an ID due to the new Voter photo ID bill. On September 1, 2013, that law changes and becomes more restrictive by limiting the list of ID’s that will be accepted in order to cast your vote. The law removes the ability to use most forms of photo ID including those issued by a state, county or municipal government, a valid student ID, an ID determined to be legitimate by local election officials, and simple identity verification by local town officials. Voters without acceptable ID’s will not only have to sign an affidavit but will be required to have a poll worker take their photo before being allowed to vote. The poll workers will then have to print a color copy of the photo in real time and affix it to the voter’s signed affidavit. Not only will the number of individuals who get caught up in the process increase but so will state expenditures to implement the changes.  How much more will this cost the state? Roughly a quarter million dollars was requested by the Secretary of State’s office for FY14 & FY15.

America was founded on the principle that we’re all created equal.  Inside the voting booth, all Americans have an equal and unencumbered voice in our democracy. But instead, some want you to believe it’s a privilege to vote and not a right and those people are willing to make it harder for some to cast their ballot. That’s the real reason why they want to limit the number of ID’s that are acceptable. They will try to convince you that voter impersonation is rampant in New Hampshire, but we know from thorough investigations that this just is not the case. There have only been three cases of voter fraud according to fraud reports issued by the SOS and AG’s office since 2006. The most recent case at the polls in NH was that of James O’Keefe, the conservative activist who was attempting to make a point that voter impersonation is possible, but fell short of proving anything about actual voter impersonation; instead all he proved was his unfamiliarity with New Hampshire voting law, landing himself in hot water. We all agree that protecting the integrity of our elections is vitally important—that’s why we already have strict laws and protections in place.

Proponents of Voter photo ID will also try to convince you that Voter ID laws are no big deal – that you need an ID to get on an airplane or buy a beer. The problem is that neither of those actions is enshrined in our Constitution – voting is. And contrary to their belief, not everyone does have an ID. Just this past election 5,424 people in New Hampshire didn’t have an ID to vote. That’s 5,424 people who might not  cast a vote next election year because they lack ID – no matter who they are, where they come from, what they look like and who they vote for, that’s 5,424 too many.

If those reasons alone don’t give you pause to think twice about the real implications of voter photo ID, then I hope the financial implications will. It is just too expensive to implement when there have only been three cases of voter fraud as reported by the Secretary of State’s office and the Attorney General in the last 8 years. More people get struck by lightning than impersonate another voter at the polls. Is a quarter of a million worth those odds? I think not.

Jess Clark
Political and Field Director
America Votes

If you are on the Daily Kos, click here to Comment and Rec.

NH AFL-CIO Presents Movie Night : ELECTORIAL DYSFUNCTION with Mo Rocca


Thursday, February 7

New Hampshire  AFL-CIO 
Movie Night!

Electoral Dysfunction
is the first documentary project to take an irreverent — but nonpartisan — look at voting in America. In the same way that An Inconvenient Truth revealed the need for immediate action on global warming—the film will help spark a national dialogue on the steps ordinary citizens can take to ensure that every vote counts.

Mo’s quest—set against the backdrop of the historic 2008 presidential election—leads him to Indiana, home to some of the toughest voting laws in the country. As he progresses on his journey, Mo investigates the heated battle over Voter ID and voter fraud; searches for the Electoral College; critiques ballot design with Todd Oldham; and explores the case of a former felon who was sentenced to ten years in prison—for the crime of voting.

Movie Night is FREE and open to NH AFL-CIO members and guests.
Call (603) 623-7302 for more information.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 – 6:00pm
161 Londonderry Turnpike, Hooksett

Sen. Candidate Phyllis Woods Misinforms Voters About Voting Requirements

Candidate mailing tells voters ‘voter identification will be required’

DOVER, NH – Senate candidate Phyllis Woods sent a mass mailing to the voters of Senate District 4 with the wrong information about Election Day voting requirements. The mailing reads: “Voter identification will be required. Remember your Photo ID.”

The NH Voter Protection team issued the following statement from Sarah Chaisson Warner, Executive Director of New Hampshire Citizens Alliance:

“This information is misleading. New Hampshire citizens need to know that they can vote even if they don’t have photo identification. Voters can always fill out an affidavit instead. We are very concerned about misinformation being spread by candidates or parties. It is particularly important that Granite Staters know there are alternatives to providing a photo ID this year, especially since the State of New Hampshire was so late in offering voters alternative forms of photo identification.”

“We call on Phyllis Woods to issue a clarifying statement to the voters in Senate District 4 and to refrain from using misleading statements like this in any subsequent mailings.”

NH Citizens Alliance is part of a voter protection team that will have poll watchers stationed throughout the state to hold voter education signs and monitor any issues that arise on Election Day. NH Citizens Alliance and Granite State Progress Education Fund have also released a website, www.NHvoterprotection.org, with information addressing the ins and outs of the new voter ID laws. The joint project aims to make sure no voter feels intimidated or pressured while performing his or her constitutional right to cast a ballot.

A copy of the Woods mailing is available by request. The Voter Protection team will be watching out for similar candidate mailings.

The Story Of One Womans Fight To Vote

New Hampshire is in a very heated battle over Voter ID.  The Good thing is that right now in 2012 you cannot be turned away from voting.  You can use same day registrations, you can use your ID or don’t use your ID, the choice is yours.

We are still awaiting the final ruling from the NH Supreme Court to rule on the new NH Voter ID laws.  When it comes to voting rights we should always look at how far we have come as a nation.  At one time women had to fight for the right to vote.  Then African-Americans had to fight for their right to vote.  People had to endure poll taxes and outrageous laws that kept them from their right to vote.

Today the Minnesota AFL-CIO released a short video of Eve Black speaking to a modest crowd in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Eve is a SAG-AFTRA member and former board member. Eve told the story of her 78-year-old great-grandmother who was violently murdered after attending a civil rights meeting in Mississippi. Her ancestors, like many others, fought hard and even died for equal voting rights.

Here we are in 2012 fight once again that everyone has their equal right to vote.  This time is not about skin color it is something else.  That is also the problem there is no one group that is harmed in these attacks on voting rights.  It effects everyone, young and old, rural and urban, black and white.  Adelina Hamilton died fighting for her belief that everyone has the right to vote.  Do we really want to go back to that place again?


Concord, N.H.–Voting rights groups applauded Strafford Superior Court Judge John Lewis’ order, today, to the Secretary of State to issue new voter registration forms for this election. The new registration forms will delete a paragraph that advised all voters they would be subject to registering a car and getting a state driver’s license if they registered to vote. The order also instructs the Secretary of State to post new information on his website and to inform election officials in towns and cities to immediately begin using the corrected voter registration from.  This decision is based upon the recognition that individuals who are in the state for a limited period of time, such as students or persons doing military duty, have a absolute right to vote here while living in NH, but are unable to get NH drivers licenses because the motor vehicle law limits residents to those who intend to stay permanently or indefinitely.

“We are very pleased the Judge agreed with our concern that students who come to college in New Hampshire might give up their right to vote because of concerns about registering a car and getting a New Hampshire driver’s license even when they knew they would leave after graduation,” said Joan Flood Ashwell, election law specialist for the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire.

“The new paragraph on the voter registration form was confusing and misleading, and there was no clarifying information on the Secretary of State’s website. Now, the website will state clearly the difference between domicile for voting and residence for motor vehicles purposes, and it will clearly state that out-of-state college students do not have to register a car in New Hampshire or get a state driver’s license as a condition for voting,” she said.

The petition for an injunction against the law was filed by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union on behalf of four college students who came from other states to study in New Hampshire and who plan to leave after their studies are complete. The League of Women Voters of New Hampshire and Joan Flood Ashwell were also plaintiffs. America Votes New Hampshire works closely with the League and the NHCLU on election issues.

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