Letter to Secretary of State William Gardner - Judicial Activism Disenfranchises NH Legal Resident Voters
September 28, 2012
Hon. William M. Gardner
Secretary of State
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