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February 16, 2013

N.H. Voter ID Law under attack

Phase II to take effect this fall


"I certainly hope the Legislature will act to repeal voter ID," she said.

League of Women Voters of New Hampshire co-president Liz Tentarelli said the group is supporting repeal of the law.

"We are strong supporters of the right of everyone to vote," Tentarelli said. "We believe requiring a photo ID infringes on that right for some people."

Tentarelli cited elders, disabled people and students as voters the photo ID requirement could negatively affect.

The new photo requirement for those signing affidavits also is costly, requiring cameras and printers at every polling place, she said.

"I think the prospect for repeal of the more stringent Phase II is very good," Tentarelli said.

But she concedes she is not so sure about the photo ID request instituted last year.

The Secretary of State's Office isn't taking a stand on the repeal efforts, but is advising legislators.

"We have been providing information," Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said. "Our position is that what the Legislature decides to do is policy, the issue is up to them."

For the first time in November, voters in New Hampshire were required to either display a valid ID – a driver's license, passport or student ID, for example. Or voters could instead sign an affidavit swearing to their identity.

Of about 700,000 voters who went to the polls, just 5,650 chose the affidavit option.

Despite concerns about possible disruptions at the polls, election workers reported no trouble.

"All things considered, it went pretty well," Scanlan said.

Tentarelli acknowledges that as far as everyone knows, the law did work last fall, that voters weren't turned away.

"But we may never know how many people never went to the polls because they thought a photo ID was needed," she said.

About those affidavits. The law requires state officials to follow up with voters afterward. That process is taking place now.

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