New Hampshire Judge Prevents Legislature from Tightening Voting Requirements

Residents of New Hampshire currently can register to vote without presenting proof of living in the location where they are voting. The state legislature recently sought to change this rule, perhaps influenced by President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in New Hampshire. However, a judge has issued a preliminary injunction against the resulting law, known as SB 3, and kept the state’s voting rules intact.

SB 3 would have required voters who move to New Hampshire 30 days or fewer before an election to prove that they intend to stay. The law initially imposed penalties for failing to provide these documents, although a judge already had struck down the penalties. Reviewing the law as a whole, Hillsborough Superior Court Judge Kenneth Brown voiced concern that SB 3 targeted certain groups, such as young Democrats. He felt that voter fraud is not a serious problem in New Hampshire and noted that the law would increase lines at polling stations, creating a disincentive to vote.

While the ACLU and Democrats welcomed the judge’s ruling, Governor Chris Sununu remained confident that the law would survive upon review. He believes that SB 3 is necessary to protect the integrity of the voting process. Another measure that he supports involves residency requirements for college students. This is scheduled to take effect next year and also may stir controversy as it moves forward.

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