By Casey Conley firstname.lastname@example.org
DURHAM — State legislators are considering a raft of voting-related bills this session, including several aimed at tightening eligibility at the polls.
The Senate is considering proposals targeting the definition of a domicile, the standard used to determine if someone can legally vote in New Hampshire. House members have submitted bills to change the definition of residency and require the Secretary of State’s Office to investigate voting irregularities, among others. Another high-profile House bill that would have eliminated same-day voter registration was amended, then later effectively killed.
All told, both chambers will review nearly 50 bills related to voting, a notable increase over previous sessions, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Republicans, who control both chambers of the Legislature and the governor’s office, are behind most of the key measures. David Hynes, a spokesman for the state Republican Party, said the Legislature’s discussions around voter eligibility are timely.
“There is a legitimate debate about a person’s domicile and whether or not it’s appropriate for people to vote in New Hampshire with little more than a promise of their intent to stay in New Hampshire,” he said Friday.
Democrats say recent talk about voter fraud is a “lie” used to explain unfavorable N.H. election results for President Donald Trump and depress turnout in future elections. They also question fraud claims given Republicans control the New Hampshire Legislature and governor’s office.
“Republicans have been telling the same voter fraud lie for two decades,” state Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement. “Now, Republicans in the Legislature are using this lie to disenfranchise eligible voters. In doing so, they will be making the Granite State the hardest state in the country to vote in.”
The proposals come amid heightened GOP concern about voter fraud, spurred by recent comments from Trump, Gov. Chris Sununu and others arguing busloads of out of state people are illegally voting in New Hampshire elections.