SB3 Requiring Proof of Residency Ruled Unconstitutional

by | Apr 21, 2020 | Opinion

NH Superior Court Judge David Anderson has Ruled that SB3 is Unconstitutional.
SB3 required that people registering to vote here actually show proof that they are from New Hampshire.

Granite State Taxpayers Supported SB3 Early and Often.
Superior Court to hear Appeal of SB3, by GST, April 16, 2018
SB3 Signed by Governor Sununu, by GST, July 14, 2017
Talking Points Promoting SB3, by GST, May 30, 2017

The NH Democrat Party and the League of Women Voters quickly brought suit, alleging that SB3:
– violates the NH Constitution by burdening the right to vote (Count I)
– contradicts the domicile qualification in the NH Constitution (Count II)
– violates equal protection (Count III)
– is void for vagueness (Count IV)
On November 4, 2019, the Court dismissed Count II in its entirety and Count IV in part.

On April 8, 2020, the Court found for the Plaintiffs on Counts I and II, and for the State on Count IV.
Click here to read the Superior Court decision on SB3.

On Count I (Burden), the Court relied on data from observers and officials in Durham and Hanover.
Specifically, observations of registration time of “specific individuals”, not on average registration times.
The Court ignored domicile affidavits dropping from 7.3% of 2016 same day registrants to 2.6% in 2018.
The Court noted wait times at the busiest NH polling places did not constitute a severe burden on voters.
Every voter was able to vote, but “burdens” imposed by SB3 were ruled “unreasonable and discriminatory”.
The Court said efforts to educate voters about SB3 showed that SB3 imposed a burden on voters.

On Count III the Court said SB3 denied Equal Treatment, as it applies to Same day Registrants.
Plaintiffs argued “young voters, college students, mobile voters, low-income voters, and Democrats are more likely to be impacted by SB3.” because they have an “increased rate of same-day registration.”

GST has long advocated for reform of New Hampshire Election Laws.
GST supports legislation so that people who vote in New Hampshire actually live in New Hampshire.

SB3 is more permissive than the laws in Massachusetts and most other states.
SB3 would allow one to vote and bring their proof of residency later.
In Massachusetts, you aren’t allowed to vote if you don’t provide proof of residency.
Democrats haven’t sued the State of Massachusetts, only New Hampshire. Click to read why.

The State plans to appeal Judge Anderson’s decision to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Posted by GST Chairman Ray Chadwick


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