For Immediate Release
July 10, 2015
CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan released the following message after vetoing SB 179:
“By the authority vested in me, pursuant to part II, Article 44 of the New Hampshire Constitution, on July 10, 2015, I have vetoed Senate Bill 179, relative to eligibility to vote and relative to availability of voter information.
“The constitutional right of all citizens to vote is the most fundamental right of our democracy, and we must always be working to ensure that people who are legally domiciled in New Hampshire are not blocked from voting. Senate Bill 179 places unreasonable restrictions upon all New Hampshire citizens’ right to vote in this state with an arbitrary timeline that will prevent lawful residents from taking part in the robust citizen democracy that we are so proud of in the Granite State.
“Our present law provides for same day voter registration, whereby an individual domiciled within the state can register and vote on the date of an election. Contrary to this voting system, Senate Bill 179 requires that an individual establish a domicile for no less than 30 consecutive days before any election in which the person offers to vote. This durational requirement unnecessarily interferes with both the right to vote and the right to travel under the New Hampshire and United States Constitutions. Similar restrictions have been found unconstitutional in states with same day voter registration as there is no compelling state interest to support such a law. In the First In The Nation state, it is hard to imagine that we would prohibit someone who moves here for a job in the middle of August from voting in a mid-term primary at the beginning of September, or in any of the numerous similar situations that would be impacted by this law.
“We want to encourage individuals and their families to move to our state and, upon doing so, offer them all the rights and protections of being a New Hampshire citizen. This includes the right to participate in our democratic process and vote in our elections regardless of whether an individual moves to New Hampshire 29 days before an election or 31 days before an election. In both instances, the individual, who chooses New Hampshire as his or her domicile, should be welcomed and allowed to vote.
“We must be vigilant in our efforts to prevent and aggressively prosecute voter fraud, but Senate Bill 179 does not do anything to accomplish those goals. Restricting the rights of those who are constitutionally eligible to vote with a durational requirement does nothing to prevent people from lying about where they live, it merely denies people who recently moved to New Hampshire and are lawful residents of our state their fundamental right to vote.
“This bill violates the constitutional right of people who are lawful residents of New Hampshire to vote, a fundamental right that is critical to the vibrancy of our democracy. Therefore, I have vetoed Senate Bill 179.”