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September 12. 2012 12:52AM

Complaints, compliments for voter ID

MANCHESTER — A prominent Hispanic activist said she was asked “where are you from” and twice told she must show a picture identification when she tried to vote at Ward 8 in Manchester on Tuesday.

Eva Castillo, a member of the Governor’s Commission on Latino Affairs and a member of the Manchester Police Commission, said she thinks the fact she spoke with an accent had something to do with the way she was treated.

“I was upset because first of all, I know the law,” Castillo said. “I might not be born in this country, but I was aware of these things.”

When contacted by a reporter, a Manchester election official said she had not heard of the incident but planned to speak to Ward 8 poll staffers.

“It might have been a misunderstanding,” said Joann Ferruolo, assistant city clerk in Manchester.

Photo IDs were part of the picture Tuesday, as New Hampshire voters pulled out their wallets and purses as they went to the polls to vote under the new voter ID law.

Several moderators said most voters had a photo identification and showed it when asked.

But some didn’t. In Ward 5 in Manchester, a tally at mid-afternoon showed that 20 of 347 voters didn’t have an ID. In Ward 8, the mid-afternoon tally found that 27 of more than 800 voters lacked an ID.

Those without an ID were allowed to vote but given a slip of paper explaining the law, which goes into full effect in November. During the general election, voters without an ID will have to sign an affidavit attesting to who they are.

The voter ID law went into effect when the Republican Legislature overrode a veto of Democratic Gov. John Lynch.

Clerks in Nashua, Londonderry and Manchester said some voters were upset about the ID requirement.

“A couple was very loud about their disapproval,” said Maureen Lund, the clerk in Nashua’s Ward 2.

“It’s working out fine,” said Paul Crawford, the moderator in Ward 5 in Manchester. “Some are happy about it, others aren’t. Some are angry. They think it’s an infringement on their personal liberty.”

Voters interviewed welcomed the requirement.

“They should have done this ... when they had the problem with the (dangling) chads. They’re only doing it now because a Democrat (Obama) might get reelected,” said Londonderry resident Mary Sheridan.

In Ward 8 in Manchester, Robert Hallinan said he’s happy to show an identification, because people will cheat if given the opportunity. He wasn’t ID’d because the clerks knew him, he said.

“If they asked me for an ID, I probably would tell them I’m over 21,” said Hallinan, who is 87.

Frank Richards, another Ward 8 voter, said he is happy to show an ID.

“When I pull the plug, and I walk out, I want my candidate to have a fair shake,” he said.

Castillo said she’s voted every year in Ward 8 since 2008.

She objected to the question and was twice told she needed to show an ID. She said that her younger son was with her, so she decided to back off and gave them her ID.

She plans to file a complaint with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.

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New Hampshire Union Leader Correspondents Kimberly Houghton and April Guilmet contributed to this article. Mark Hayward may be reached at mhayward@unionleader.com.


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