NH House to Vote on Student Voter Suppression Bill

by Brittnie Baker, Counsel SB 3, which has already passed the Senate and is poised to move through the House this week, will adversely impact the ability of many qualified voters – and particularly students – to register and vote in New Hampshire. The bill requires voters to provide documentation of actions to prove they are domiciled and living in New Hampshire. This law is unnecessary and only erects barriers to voters rather than encouraging them to be active citizens. At the April 18 House Election Law Committee hearing on the bill, a recurring theme was whether college and university students who are originally from out of state should be allowed to vote in New Hampshire while they are attending school.  Any suggestion that students living and attending school in New Hampshire do not have the right to vote in New Hampshire is wrong and damaging not only to students who are civically engaged in their school community, but to our democracy as a whole. Students have the right to vote where they attend college, if they so choose. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this right in Symm v. United States in 1979.  This ruling determined that students may not be treated different than any other potential voter based simply on their status as a student.  A student’s living arrangement at school – whether the student lives on campus, or a rental off campus – does not impact their ability to register and vote at that address. The list of actions to prove domicile in SB 3 are quite restrictive for students, many of whom may not have access to a...

SCOTUS Delivers Victory for Voting Rights in NC

by Rachel Clay, Southeast Regional Coordinator On Monday, April 15, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear North Carolina’s appeal of a federal court of appeals ruling which struck down parts of a restrictive voting law in the state. After years of battling in the courts, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last July found that the state legislature explicitly set out to discover the kind of voting methods minority voters use most often, like early voting on Sundays, and roll back or eliminate them, targeting African Americans “with almost surgical precision.” While the ruling struck down a number of restrictive voting laws, one of the most notable is the elimination of the voter ID requirement. The significance of a victory like this, in North Carolina, a state deeply embedded in history as a battleground for civil and voting rights, should not be lost. In 2013, the Supreme Court nullified parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, removing existing preclearance requirements and causing the VRA to be all but unenforceable. North Carolina was covered under preclearance prior to this decision, and preclearance served to protect the rights of African American and minority voters. North Carolina become the first state after the 2013 decision to enact a voter suppression law free of the oversight of preclearance. In the month following the decision, the state Senate transformed Bill 589, a 16-page bill about voter ID laws, to a 56-page bill that would be the worst voter suppression bill in North Carolina history, and arguably the country. The bill proposed strict voter ID requirements, a reduction in early voting days, the...