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House passes compromise version of photo ID bill

CONCORD - The House voted 255-103 for a compromise bill requiring photo identification for voters at the polls beginning with Novembers general election.

The agreement reached by negotiators combines the Senate and House versions of the bill, with the more lenient Senate version serving as a 15-month transition period and the more restrictive House version in place after Sept. 1, 2013. Voters would be required to present a photo ID at the November general election or sign an affidavit.

Opponents said the bill is intended to suppress the vote from particular groups of voters like the elderly, the poor and college students.

Rep. David Pierce, D-Etna, said the bill does not hold together with conflicting sections. He said the bill is intended to keep people from voting.

But supporters said photo identification is a small price to pay to ensure that only legal voters may cast ballots.

Rep. David Bates, R-Windham, called Senate Bill 289 an effective deterrent to voter fraud that has broad support.

The Senate still has to vote on the conference committee report.

The House vote is large enough to override a veto from Gov. John Lynch, who has said he has concerns about the bill.

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