Sununu signs bill creating new provisional ballot system in NH

Anarba Groub

New Hampshire has a new limited provisional ballot system for first-time voters, but critics say it could deprive some voters of their rights, and at least one organization is threatening to sue.Gov. Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 418 into law Friday. It allows voters to register on Election Day without any form of ID, but they would have to provide proof of identity within seven days or have their ballots thrown out.There are concerns that the bill could delay the state’s ability to certify primary election results in time to get general election ballots ready for overseas voters, such as the active-duty military.”Those ballots get sent out to our overseas and military voters 45 days ahead of Election Day,” said McKenzie St. Germain, director of the New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights. “We’ve heard time and time again that every one of those 45 days is really crucial.”Sununu said he has been assured the timing won’t cause problems.”The secretary of state, he knows the election process better than anyone in the country,” Sununu said. “He’s given absolute full assurance that this will not hinder our ability to get military ballots out on time, and it won’t slow down the process at the local level.” Supporters have said the bill is necessary to prevent out-of-state residents from fraudulently voting in New Hampshire, something opponents say has never been a significant problem. In a written statement, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire said the bill creates more problems.”We are deeply disappointed in and concerned by Governor Sununu’s signing today of SB 418, a clearly unconstitutional bill that would diminish ballot secrecy and create an avenue to tie names to ballots,” the organization said. “Our elections have been proven time and again to be safe, secure and reliable, and this unconstitutional bill has absolutely no place in the Granite State. We’ll see the state in court.”The changes won’t go into effect until January 2023.

New Hampshire has a new limited provisional ballot system for first-time voters, but critics say it could deprive some voters of their rights, and at least one organization is threatening to sue.

Gov. Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 418 into law Friday. It allows voters to register on Election Day without any form of ID, but they would have to provide proof of identity within seven days or have their ballots thrown out.

There are concerns that the bill could delay the state’s ability to certify primary election results in time to get general election ballots ready for overseas voters, such as the active-duty military.

“Those ballots get sent out to our overseas and military voters 45 days ahead of Election Day,” said McKenzie St. Germain, director of the New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights. “We’ve heard time and time again that every one of those 45 days is really crucial.”

Sununu said he has been assured the timing won’t cause problems.

“The secretary of state, he knows the election process better than anyone in the country,” Sununu said. “He’s given absolute full assurance that this will not hinder our ability to get military ballots out on time, and it won’t slow down the process at the local level.”

Supporters have said the bill is necessary to prevent out-of-state residents from fraudulently voting in New Hampshire, something opponents say has never been a significant problem.

In a written statement, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire said the bill creates more problems.

“We are deeply disappointed in and concerned by Governor Sununu’s signing today of SB 418, a clearly unconstitutional bill that would diminish ballot secrecy and create an avenue to tie names to ballots,” the organization said. “Our elections have been proven time and again to be safe, secure and reliable, and this unconstitutional bill has absolutely no place in the Granite State. We’ll see the state in court.”

The changes won’t go into effect until January 2023.

https://www.wmur.com/article/sununu-bill-provisional-ballot-new-hampshire/40326900

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