House Republicans Reject Repeal of Common Sense Election Laws

Concord, NH – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) and Republican member of the House Election Law committee, Rep. Barbara Griffin (R-Goffstown) issued statements following the passage of HB1279 and HB1653, which repeal common sense election laws. HB1279 passed by a vote of 189-133. HB1653 passed by a vote of 191-129.

“As the saying goes, ‘It’s déjà vu all over again.’ These bills were vetoed by the governor last summer and sustained by the House in the fall. Yet, we are going to continue this charade of rehearing the exact same bills as last year that will have the exact same outcome, and HB1279 and HB1653 are included in that,’ Rep. Dick Hinch said. ‘I don’t believe it is unreasonable for us to require that those who participate in our elections be residents of our state. What I do believe to be unreasonable is that we have had two classifications of voters in our state: those who abide by our statutes and laws as residents, and those who don’t. In a state where numerous elections have been decided by just a handful of votes, it is important to make sure that every ballot cast by an eligible voter is counted, and the domicile loophole is closed.”

“HB1279 would repeal a law and has been in effect with no known impact on voter participation. This law makes residence and domicile equivalent thus ending unequal treatment of voters. This makes us consistent with almost all other states in that a person needs to be a resident to vote in our state. The current law has been found constitutional by the NH Supreme Court which ruled the state has an interest in making sure that when residency is claimed by a person it should not be just for voting but for all purposes.’ said Rep. Barbara Griffin. ‘HB1653 proposes to eliminate the requirement that when a person registers to vote that there be proof of domicile. This requirement is consistent with other states and was a common sense reform to ensure confidence in the integrity of our elections. The law was used in 18 months of election and there is no evidence that voters did not vote as a result of the law; in fact some of the highest turnout ever occurred. We should let the court case on these two bills continue to their end and only consider changes as needed.”

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