EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

July 9, 2013

N.H. voter ID law sees big changes

Photographing voters delayed for two years

(Continued)

While town clerks have said it would be a nightmare on Election Day to photograph voters, critics of the revised law say postponing this provision for two years is detrimental.

Those critics include former Rep. David Bates, R-Windham, who helped craft the original law before deciding not to seek re-election last fall.

“My feeling is these changes viscerate the law we passed last session and make it absolutely useless,” he said. “It’s only a shell of a law.”

The law has deterred voter fraud since it was implemented during the November 2012 election and did not the need major changes that have altered its purpose, Bates said.

The new version gives election officials the authority to accept any voter ID they believe to be “legitimate,” allowing for interpretation of what is acceptable with no uniform standard, he said.

Bates said delaying photographing voters for two years postpones — and endangers — a crucial portion of the law.

“People are less likely to commit a felony such as election fraud if their photo is taken while they are voting,” he said.

But election officials, including Pelham Town Clerk Dorothy Marsden, are relieved that portion of the law is on hold. She and other Southern New Hampshire clerks have said there are too many questions about the provision and said it would add to their already huge workload during an election.

“I think it’s going to cause a lot of backups — who is going to do it and who is going to pay for it?” she said. “I’m not in favor of it. I don’t think anybody likes it.”

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