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November 5, 2012

Voter ID Law could mean long lines

State's new law may cause confusion, delays at polls

Town clerks say they’re all set for today’s election, but they wonder if voters are ready.

As New Hampshire voters prepare to choose a president and governor, there’s concern some people will be confused by the state’s new Voter ID Law.

But town clerks said yesterday they weren’t receiving many — if any calls — about the new law, which asks residents to provide an ID when voting. Anyone who does not bring their ID to the polls can still vote after filling out an affidavit.

Receiving few calls doesn’t necessarily mean voters don’t have questions, according to some election officials.

It may mean some voters aren’t familiar with the new law, despite major efforts by state officials, including the Secretary of State’s and Attorney General’s offices, to educate the public.

“I have a feeling there are a lot of people who are unaware of it,” Plaistow Town Clerk Maryellen Pelletier said.

It also means people will wait and ask those questions when getting ready to vote — causing delays at a time when Secretary of State William Gardner predicts a turnout of 70 percent. Long lines are already expected at polling places across the state.

“We have the perfect storm of causes where there could be a little bit longer lines than usual,” Associate Attorney General Anne Edwards said.

The close presidential and gubernatorial races are expected to bring many voters out, creating long lines. At least 100,000 New Hampshire residents are expected to register to vote at the polls as well, Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said. That’s expected to cause further delays

Gardner has predicted about 722,000 Granite Staters will vote today. The previous record was in 2008 — when roughly 719,000 New Hampshire residents voted, Scanlan said.

He said some voters have been confused about the law, but it’s difficult to gauge how many still have questions.

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