New Hampshire Republicans are pushing through a proposal to tighten the state’s voter ID laws, but Democrats say the move is aimed at suppressing votes.
The legislation, which could soon be headed to Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk, would require people who use same-day registration to vote without required photo documentation to use an “affidavit” ballot. If they fail to come to a city or town hall to provide the missing documentation within 10 days of the election, their vote would be voided.
Republicans who backed the proposal say the intent is to prevent voter fraud and instill more confidence in the state’s election system.
“What we want to know is that people who are going to the polls are who they say they are,” said state Rep. Ross Berry, R-Manchester, the bill’s primary sponsor.
Sununu has expressed concerns about the proposal, suggesting that it could create delays in election results and jeopardize New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.
“The problem I have, generally, with provisional ballots is that you may not get a final result for days after an election, and that’s a problem,” the third-term Republican said in recent comments.
Republican lawmakers have filed dozens of proposals to restrict student voting and tighten voter ID requirements in the past year, while blocking attempts by Democrats to expand early voting and mail balloting.
Voting rights groups say many of the proposals have been fueled, in part, by former President Donald Trump’s claims that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential elections. Trump claimed that busloads of Massachusetts Democrats were brought up to the state to vote against him.
Republicans argue that the requirement to provide additional information to register to vote is needed to prevent voter fraud in the state’s elections.
Democrats say the changes are unnecessary because voter fraud is nonexistent in the state. They’ve accused Republicans of attempting to suppress voters by setting ID requirements.
New Hampshire is one of a handful of states that doesn’t use provisional ballots, which are required under federal law. The state received a waiver from the federal requirement in the 1990s in exchange for offering same-day voter registration. Under current law, voters can sign an affidavit attesting their identity if they are missing required documents.
Last year, New Hampshire’s Supreme Court struck down a four-year old law requiring voters to show additional proof of identity if they register shortly before an election.
In the ruling, the justices wrote that they agreed with the lower court rulings that the law “imposes unreasonable burdens on the right to vote” and that lawyers for the state failed to demonstrate that the law was related to an “important governmental objective.”
The law required voters to show additional proof of identification if they registered within 30 days of a federal, state or local election.
Democrats passed a law repealing the changes in 2019, when they had control of the Legislature, but Sununu vetoed it.
This article was originally posted on New Hampshire lawmakers approve ‘affidavit’ ballot legislation