Republican Caucus Pushes Anti-Voter Bill Through State Senate

For Immediate Release

Contact: Molly Cowan

Phone: 603 271.3077

Fax: 603 271.3027

molly.cowan@leg.state.nh.us

Thursday, January 19, 2006

CONCORD – After a few weeks of bipartisan cooperation, the New Hampshire Senate addressed some of the most controversial issues from last session. Among those issues was the anti-voter bill SB 26, legislation requiring identification to obtain a ballot.

Despite Republican claims, there is no evidence of widespread fraud in New Hampshire, and city/town clerks, and the Secretary of State’s office oppose SB 26.

“We need to balance easy and convenient voting versus the prevention of voter fraud, and this bill goes far to the extreme,” noted Sen. Sylvia Larsen. “The right to vote is one of our most significant rights. The current system with the affidavit process works. Additional barriers are not necessary and this requirement to show ID could cause some people to leave the voting places without voting because they forgot or lost or couldn’t afford state photo identity cards.”

There is considerable concern for people who do not have photo identification, especially older people and the disabled who do not carry drivers licenses, or young voters who do not yet drive.

“Roughly 25,000 people currently living in New Hampshire do not carry a driver license,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-District 23. “ There is compelling evidence that the poor, the elderly and college students are the voters who are most likely to be disenfranchised.”

“The state does issue non-driver IDs, and cost $10-$15 to obtain. Even if those without photo identifications are able to pay for the fee, which is really a poll tax, it will be difficult for some of them to obtain transportation to the DMV to get the identification, creating barriers to vote,” concluded Sen. Burling, D-District 5.