New Hampshire’s legislature successfully overrode Gov. John Lynch’s vetoes of two election bills that will make it more difficult for Granite State residents to vote. A new photo ID law will require the state’s voters to show a photo ID at the polls or complete an affidavit attesting to their identity. Voters who lack an ID and complete an affidavit will receive a letter from the secretary of state’s office. The names of voters who do not respond or whose letters are returned as undeliverable will be forwarded to the attorney general for investigation. This November the following IDs will be allowed:
- A driver’s license issued by any state, regardless of expiration date.
- A non-driver ID issued by the DMV.
- A United States armed services identification card.
- A United States passport, regardless of expiration date.
- Any other valid photo ID issued by federal, state, county, or municipal government.
- A valid student ID.
Starting in September 2013, student IDs and the category allowing “other” government IDs will no longer be allowed to be used at the polls. In addition, the IDs will have to be valid or have expired within the last five years. Poll workers will take a picture of all individuals who complete an affidavit.
Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, noted the barriers the ID bill create and stated that “if we’re going keep people from getting out to vote, if we’re going to hinder them, then when we’re not doing our duty as democratically elected representatives.”
The legislature also overrode Lynch’s veto of a bill that adds language to the voter registration form implying that a person who registers to vote must also obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license and register their car in New Hampshire. This radical redefinition of voter eligibility was aimed squarely at students. The bill’s passage is the culmination of a long effort to make it more difficult for college students to vote. New Hampshire House Speaker William O’Brien justified his support for restrictions on voting for young people by calling them “foolish” because they “lack life experience” and “just vote their feelings.”
In his veto message, Lynch stated the following: “Our election laws must be designed to encourage and facilitate voting by all eligible voters in New Hampshire.” Unfortunately, the legislature failed to heed his commonsense call for greater democracy in the state.