NH Democrat Sides With GOP on College Voter Law

Thursday, 04 Oct 2012 11:41 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner appears to support a state voter registration requirement that would force out of state college students to officially establish residency, register their vehicles, and obtain a driver's license before being allowed to vote.
 
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, critics of the plan say the new law backed by Republicans is designed to keep college students from voting. A lower state court has issued an injunction preventing enforcement of the measure for the time being, based on a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and League of Women Voters.
 
Gardner, a Democrat, surprised some in his party when he wrote that it wasn't enough for out of state students who attend school in New Hampshire to simply establish "domicile" in the state in order to exercise their right to vote.
 
“It cannot be that non-residents can somehow claim domicile for voting purposes only and be able to change the foundation of New Hampshire and its government by voting for its lawmakers and proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot,” Gardner wrote.
 
Gardner has been ordered by the lower state court to issue new voter registration forms that omit the vehicle registration and driver’s license requirements in order to vote in the state.
 
Republican House Speaker Bill O'Brien, meanwhile, is seeking a stay of the order and has filed a motion with the state Supreme Court asking it to intervene on the legislature's behalf.

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