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Voting Rights Advocates Applaud Legislature’s Vote to Approve Compromise Voter ID Law

CONCORD, NH –Voting rights organizations applauded the New Hampshire Legislature’s adoption of the compromise voter ID bill that came out of negotiations between the House and Senate last week. The League of Women Voters New Hampshire, America Votes, the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union and Granite State Progress all have a history of active engagement in education and advocacy efforts for voters in New Hampshire.

 

“This compromise legislation removes the worst provisions of the voter ID law adopted by the previous Legislature,” said Joan Flood Ashwell, election law specialist for the League of Women Voters New Hampshire. “The law passed today repeals some provisions of the current law that were set to go into effect this September. Instead of accepting just four kinds of federal and state photo IDs this September, this compromise retains many of the photo IDs and some other provisions of last November’s voter ID law.”

 

“We’re pleased that the House and Senate were able to overcome their serious differences and agree to make changes to the voter ID law adopted last year,” said Jess Clark, executive director of America Votes NH. “The cost and complexity of the original law were of huge concern to election officials as well as voting rights groups. This compromise will make it easier for qualified voters to meet ID requirements and will save towns from the headache and expense of trying to take photos of voters during busy Election Days.”

 

“Voter ID legislation not only harms students but senior citizens as well. A new provision in the compromise will allow voters over the age of 65 to use an expired driver’s or non-driver’s photo ID, expired passport, or expired military ID,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “This is an important protection as many senior citizens no longer drive or travel but have otherwise valid forms of identification. Without the compromise voter ID law, those senior citizens would have been required to take a voter mug shot on Election Day. Granny voter mug shots are the wrong policy for New Hampshire and we’re pleased the compromise bill is a more stream-lined and considerate way of ensuring our elders can continue to vote.”

 

“New Hampshire should be doing all it can to encourage eligible voters in our state to exercise their fundamental right to vote. The bill passed by the legislature today is an important first step in that direction,” said Devon Chaffee, executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. “Going forward we expect New Hampshire officials to continue to work to remove all unnecessary barriers to the polls.”

A Woman’s Right To Vote Gives Women A Voice In Their Workplace Too

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Guest Author, Rep Jan Schmidt

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913 that marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. It had been organized by a small group of women who were tired of waiting patiently for the government to codify into law what many states already recognized; that women were full citizens of the US and therefore had the right to vote in every state and federal election.

The parade included ten bands, five mounted brigades, 26 floats, and around 8000 marchers, and was met with violence by many in the over 500,000 strong crowd and a police force that did little or nothing to stop the assault.

One of the organizers was a woman by the name of Alice Paul, and one of her quotes will remain in my mind as a warning for the US for both today and tomorrow.

Speaking with immigrant factory workers who toiled in horrendous conditions she was searching for some way to explain why voting rights were important to them personally. She said… “A vote is a fire escape.”

Think what that meant to women who were forced to endure unsafe factories, long hours on dangerous machines, and not only had no voice in the company – but also had no voice in government who could change the laws protecting workers.

When you have the right to vote, you have a voice and the power to shape the future.

A vote is fair wages, a safe environment, control of your own health decisions, its a good education for every child, and help when you need it most.

Your voice has no meaning until it turns into a vote. Help us remember what those women did for us, and remember not to squander their gift.

facebooktopperOn Sunday June 9th from 11:00 to 3:00 on the State House Lawn in Concord, please join us for the Second Annual NH Women United Rally.  There will be music, laughter, new and old friendships and information on organizations that support and enlighten us. We’ll even have a woman owned and operated lunch truck there – Puppy Love Hot Dogs. Bring a blanket or a chair, bring the kids, but mostly come and celebrate how far we’ve come.

Website http://NHWomenUnited.org, Facebook Page, Rally Event Page.

 

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.

Sincerely,

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. 

Protect Your Right to Vote!

New Website
www.NHVoterProtection.org

Educates Granite Staters of Voting Rights, Responsibilities
Website Launched to Protect NH Voters After Slew of Anti-Voter Legislation

Last session the New Hampshire Legislature passed laws that added new steps and confusion to the voting process in the Granite State.

To help counteract the negative effects of these changes, Granite State Progress Education Fund and New Hampshire Citizens Alliance have created a website dedicated to educating voters about the changes and ensuring Granite Staters exercise their right to vote.

The website, www.NHVoterProtection.org, contains a breakdown of the new laws that affect voting, and what to do if you are unfairly challenged at the polls.

 

 

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?

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