Securing our elections: Voter ID compromise should pass
If Gov. John Lynch does not veto it, New Hampshire is likely to get a voter ID requirement in time for this fall's elections. Yet even if that happens, the voter ID debate will be far from over.
House and Senate negotiators agreed last week to reconcile their chambers' competing versions of the legislation by simply combining them. The Senate bill would apply this year, and the House version thereafter. Though some opponents objected to both versions, the biggest concerns were with the House bill, which was more complex and more restrictive.
If the new bill becomes law, voters this fall will have to show a photo ID or sign an affidavit asserting their identity before they can receive a ballot. The state would accept eight different forms of identification, including college IDs. After this election, the number of acceptable IDs drops to only four and excludes college IDs. Also, voters who do not have a picture ID will have their photo taken by a poll worker and have the photo attached to the affidavit they sign.
Municipal clerks and the Secretary of State's Office supported the Senate version and opposed the House version. They did so in part because they feared that they could not implement the House version by this September's primaries. That concern is now gone, but there will be others. Can the state afford all the cameras the bill requires? What if a camera malfunctions?
Those who oppose any process for verifying the identities of voters will make up other objections.
We will hear the usual nonsense about poor and minority voters being 'disenfranchised,' as if people who can get to a voting booth are incapable of getting to the DMV to pick up a driver's license or state ID card. Legislators should not believe any of it.
With this bill, minor technical concerns can be corrected next year, and the important task of safeguarding New Hampshire's elections will be attained this year. It should pass.