Voting booth at the polls

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the state on behalf of two college students who claim a new law that requires a New Hampshire driver’s license to vote violates their constitutional rights and represents a 21st century “poll tax.”

Since the margin of victory in New Hampshire was so small in the 2016 presidential election, the Republican and Democratic parties are working to reach infrequent voters.

A John S. and James L. Knight Foundation report released last week delved into the characteristics of the estimated 100 million eligible voters who did not vote in 2016.

The 12,000 non-voters surveyed across the country included 800 New Hampshire eligible voters who said they did not vote in 2016. Among that group, 30% said they supported President Donald Trump in 2020, and 29% said they favored a Democratic candidate. Another 23% were interested in a third-party candidate, and the rest said they did not know.

Republicans and Democrats are both counting on turning out those voters for their side in November.

Ellie Hockenbury, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign, said bringing out infrequent voters is a major focus for the campaign.

Since 2012, she said, the RNC has poured some $350 million into collecting data to learn about individual voters, not just demographic groups.

“We can tailor how we talk to them by what we know about them,” she said, which means a more convincing pitch to go to the polls.

“Through our unprecedented data operation, we know what it’s going to take to drive them out. We know who they are, we know what to talk to them about, and we have our ground team working to drive them out to the polls.”

She said the Trump campaign would focus on expanding existing social networks — friends, neighbors, community groups — to bring out those less-frequent voters.

And the campaign’s rallies are reaching Trump supporters who did not vote in 2016: In a Feb. 10 tweet, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said ticket sign-up data for the Manchester rally that night turned up thousands of people who did not vote in the last presidential election.

New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman Holly Shulman said the Democratic Party would use a “neighbor-to-neighbor” approach, similar to the Republican effort focusing on local networks.

She said the hotly contested Democratic primary engaged activists and potential volunteers, and helped the Democratic Party reach out to voters.

“For more than a full year, Democratic campaign staff have been recruiting volunteers, making calls, and going door-to-door for their candidate of choice and talking about the contrast in this race between Democrats who want to build an economy that works for everyone and Republicans who are only working for themselves, special interests, and the top 1 percent at the expense of everyone else,” she wrote in an email.

The Knight Foundation study found that income inequality was one of the least important issues for Granite Staters who did not vote in 2016, far behind immigration, health care and the economy.

Friday, July 10, 2020
Thursday, July 09, 2020