Letter to Secretary of State William Gardner - Judicial Activism Disenfranchises NH Legal Resident Voters

September 28, 2012

Hon. William M. Gardner

Secretary of State

Concord, NH

Dear Secretary Gardner:

We are writing to express our concern and disappointment over the recent Strafford County Superior Court ruling regarding Voter Identification and Registration rules for the State of New Hampshire via the suit brought against the State of New Hampshire by The League of Women Voters and the NH Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Under Article 11 of the New Hampshire Constitution, domicile is a factual prerequisite to voting. Domicile is commonly defined as the place where an individual has his true, fixed, permanent home and principal establishment, the place to which he intends to return whenever he is absent. You may only have one domicile and there are legal consequences inherent in that status. More importantly, you may not declare a domicile for a mere special or limited purpose such as voting.

Judge Lewis’ contention, that "out of state" college students would somehow be disenfranchised, is simply incorrect. All eligible voters remain free to vote in the state where they are domiciled, either in person, or by absentee ballot. In fact, allowing out of-state college students to vote without requiring them to accept the responsibility of their domiciled status disenfranchises New Hampshire voters who are properly domiciled. The constitutional requirement must be the same for all of us.

It has come to our attention that your office and the Attorney General plan to appeal this decision to the NH Supreme Court.

We wholeheartedly support that decision, and urge the process to be expedited, so long as the proper constitutional arguments have been presented to the trial court. If not, immediate steps should be taken in the trial court to ensure that the constitutionality of this law can be demonstrated to the Supreme Court.

As you know, it is the solemn responsibility and duty of the NH Attorney General to vigorously defend the law of the land as passed this year in chaptered law 0284 (a/k/a SB289, 2012), 0285 (a/k/a SB318, 2012), and the relevant RSAs: 285:1,2, 654:7, 12, 659:13, 284:1, et al.

The vast majority of the members of the General Court and citizens of our State are paying great attention to this case and the threat this ruling has to the integrity of our elections process, if it persists.

Our expectation for adequate, vigorous, and zealous representation by the Secretary of State and especially the State’s Attorney General on behalf of our citizens and their government cannot be overstated.

Thank you for your support, and please let us know if we can be of assistance in any way in this process.


Representative Daniel Tamburello, Londonderry

Representative Jason Antosz, Epping

Representative Mike Ball, Manchester

Representative Al Baldasaro, Londonderry

Representative Spec Bowers, Sunapee

Representative John Burt, Goffstown

Representative Joe Duarte, Candia

Representative Jack Flanagan, Brookline

Representative J. Brandon Giuda, Chichester

Senator Fenton Groen, Rochester

Representative Warren Groen, Rochester

Representative JR Hoell, Dunbarton

Representative Laura Jones, Rochester

Representative Paul LaCasse, Claremont

Representative Don LeBrun, Nashua

Representative Andrew Manuse, Derry

Candidate David Martin, Dover

Representative Frank McCarthy, North Conway

Representative Phil Munck, Somersworh

Representative Brian Murphy, Rye

Representative Jeanine Notter, Merrimack

Representative Jeff Oligny, Hampstead

Representative Laurie Pettengill, Bartlett

Representative Michael Reed, Nashua

Representative Matt Swank, Manchester

Representative Kyle Tasker, Northwood

Representative Joanne Ward, Stratham

Representative James Webb, Derry