Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed two bills Friday, one that would have established an independent commission to draw new legislative districts and another that would have allowed people to register to vote at the DMV.
In two veto statements on the bills, Sununu said he believed the state’s voter registration and redistricting systems work well.
Sununu wrote in his veto statement of the redistricting commission bill, known as H.B. 1665, that he thought gerrymandering was rare in New Hampshire.
“That legislature should have the right to determine its own process, and should not be bound to the prescribed process laid out in this bill,” Sununu wrote.
Sen. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst) said a large majority of New Hampshire voters see gerrymandering as a problem.
“When we allow those with the most vested interest to determine our districts, we become gerrymandered and, in turn, silence the voices and will of Granite State voters,” Chandley wrote in a statement.
The voter-registration bill Sununu vetoed, S.B. 7, the Secure Modern Accurate Registration or SMART Act, would have allowed people to register to vote at Division of Motor Vehicles offices if they could prove they were eligible to vote.
New Hampshire is the only New England state that does not allow people to register to vote at the DMV. Nationwide, almost one third of voter registrations happen at the DMV, according to a U.S. Election Assistance Commission study.
Senator Melanie Levesque (D-Brookline), the bill’s prime sponsor, said she was disappointed the governor had vetoed the bill, saying she thought it would lower costs for cities and towns and make registration easier.
Sununu said the state’s voter registration system already works well.
Republican legislators cheered the two vetoes.
Sen. James Gray (R-Rochester) said New Hampshire already has one of the highest voter participation rates in the country, and said he believed the voter registration bill would have resulted in higher taxes and longer lines at the DMV.