CONCORD — The state Democratic Party is suing the state to challenge a law requiring a New Hampshire driver’s license to vote.
The federal court suit filed Wednesday claims the law “imposes a severe burden on the right to vote” and “operates as an unconstitutional poll tax.”
In February, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state in federal court on behalf of two Dartmouth College students who claimed the law violated their constitutional rights.
The two cases are likely to be merged, just as happened over challenges regarding Senate Bill 3, a law on voter verification, according to a party spokesman.
Both suits name as defendants Secretary of State William Gardner and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald in their official capacities.
House Bill 1264, which went into effect last July, requires anyone in New Hampshire to obtain an in-state driver’s license and vehicle registration within 60 days of casting a ballot.
After the ACLU filed its suit, House Minority Leader Richard Hinch issued a statement on the law’s constitutionality.
“Just this past July, the NH Supreme Court issued an advisory opinion on HB 1264 stating there is nothing unconstitutional about requiring individuals to make a choice as to where they are residents,” Hinch said.
According to the lawsuit, the law would require thousands of voters registered as Democrats and voters who vote for Democratic candidates to “incur onerous fees to register to vote or will be too intimidated to register or won’t vote at all.”
Said party Chairman Ray Buckley: “HB 1264 is just the latest in a string of recent efforts to disenfranchise younger, traditionally liberal voters.”