SB3 will Require New Hampshire voters to be residents and provide documentation that they are.
Today in New Hampshire, domicile, and the right to vote, is based upon intent, defined by registrants.
The registrant has no obligation to provide proof of actualizing that intent (a driver license or a residence).
That’s how people (6540 in 2016) can register and vote here with out of state driver licenses.
Follow up to determine whether people actually move here after registering is nearly non existent.
Prosecution of fraud is impossible due to inability to prove intent to defraud (“I planned to move here when I voted but I later changed my mind.”)
The fundamental change in SB3 is to require registrants to demonstrate proof of domicile.
Following are various arguments being made against passage of SB3 and responses to those arguments.
“There is no voter fraud in New Hampshire.”
There indeed have been prosecutions for voter fraud under current law, but they were difficult to prove.
When anyone can register using an out-of-state license on Election Day, and provide no proof of residency, fraud is almost impossible to find.
What most people consider fraudulent can be done legally under current law.
Since no government entity checks, there is no way to determine whether “voter fraud” exists.
That also means there is no justification to honestly state that it doesn’t exist.
“If any voter fraud does exist, it isn’t widespread or extensive enough to make a difference.”
In 2016, 6,540 voters registered using identification from another state and 1,423 with no identification at all.
The 2016 election for the US Senate was decided by 1,017 votes.
“People using out of state drivers licenses just moved here and didn’t have time to get a New Hampshire license.”
In 2016, 491 voters used out of state licenses to change registration between towns in New Hampshire.
In 2016, 146 voters voters used out of state licenses to re-register on the voter rolls after being purged.
Federal law allows people to vote absentee in their prior residence for 60 days after they move.
“It disenfranchises voters by requiring proof of residency.”
It can hardly be unconstitutional, since 49 other states and DC have identical expectations.
47 states and DC require a period of residency before being able to vote. 27 of them require 30 days residency.
Massachusetts requires a Mass. driver license or a utility bill with the name and address of the registrant.
In Massachusetts, one has till the polls close to show their proof of residency, or they can’t vote.
People always have the right to vote absentee in their state of residency if they are here on election day.
— The Supreme Court stated in its Dunn v. Blumstein decision of March 21, 1972 that:
“States have the power to require that voters be bona fide residents of the relevant political subdivision.”
“SB3 codifies that out of state students can vote here.”
Out of state students can already vote here under our current law, regardless of residency.
SB3 will require them to declare residency and disavow other residency.
That is identical to states (e.g. Maryland) where one can vote if they declare residency and show proof.
“People can vote and leave without showing proof.”
Law and precedent require a period for a registrant to return with proof if they didn’t have it with them.
Other states allow this (usually during the residency duration described above).
With same day registration, that period must necessarily be after voting day.
SB3 provides a 10 (or 30 in towns with less hours open to the public) day period to return with proof.
Current law has no obligation for the voter to provide “proof”.
SB3 is an improvement because it requires them to do so, and lists penalties if they don’t.
Also, 10 (or 30) days is short enough to allow meaningful follow up, unlike current law which is about 90 days.
“It’s an unfunded mandate if Towns have to investigate voters who haven’t provided proof of residency.”
The supervisor of the checklist maintains the checklist and approves voters to be added to it.
Under SB3, a voter who does not have of domicile must provide such proof within 10 (or 30) days after an election.
After 10 (or 30) days, supervisors have a list of those who did not return their documentary evidence.
— Under SB3, Supervisors (or their designees) can decide to take any one of the following actions:
1. Take no further action and forward the names to the Secretary of State’s office for further investigation.
2. Search municipal records to resolve any question of domicile, which is currently done.
3. Search municipal records, contact registrants directly, or visit the address listed on the registration.
Since additional work in verifying the registrant’s domicile is voluntary, no unfunded mandate occurs.
“This law doesn’t go far enough.”
Instituting more aggressive changes increases the potential of SB3 being reversed in the courts.
SB3 will be challenged in court in lawsuits brought by organizations that have already promised to do so.
The sponsors of SB3 crafted it to withstand judicial scrutiny with minimal potential for a successful appeal.
Contact your Representatives and urge them to vote for SB3 on Thursday June 1, 2017.
Click here to find contact information for your Representatives.
Click here to read the final version of SB3.
Granite State Taxpayers is New Hampshire’s oldest statewide taxpayer association. Founded in 1990 by former Governor Mel Thomson and former State Senator George Lovejoy, our mission is to inform, educate and motivate New Hampshire taxpayers and to influence the legislature on their behalf.