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Senate backs Lynch veto of voter photo ID bill

CONCORD - The Senate sided with Gov. John Lynch Wednesday in supporting his veto of a bill that would have required voters to show a photo ID before voting.

The Senate voted 17-7 to sustain Lynch in his stance against Senate Bill 129. Senate President Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, and Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, were among those voting to sustain the veto.

Bragdon and Bradley both voted to pass the bill three months ago, when it passed 14-9 in the Senate.

Some Republicans said they support the idea of requiring photo ID from voters, but that they oppose the system of provisional ballots that the House added to their bill. A provisional ballot would have been required of anyone who could not present a valid state or federally-issued photo ID card.

Town clerks said the provisional ballots would force extra work on their offices, with longer hours, additional staff, late counting and less ballot secrecy for voters.

Sen. Russell Prescott, R- Kingston, who opposed the bill, and Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, who supported it, said they will sponsor new voter ID measures next year.

A bill on the issue is also pending in the House.

America Votes, a coalition of groups opposed to SB 129, said the veto "reinforces the integrity of elections in New Hampshire and ensures fair and equal access to the ballot."

Speaker of the House William O&#';Brien said the issue will be back in January, saying, &#';New Hampshire&#';s lax voter registration and balloting laws need to be improved.&#';

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