ELECTION LAW

Establishing New Requirements to Prove Domicile

The House Election Law Committee held a six-hour hearing on SB 3, a bill that many election officials say will lead to a complicated registration form that would lead to delays and confusion at the polls.

The NH Municipal Association believes the proposed bill would be almost impossible to implement.

Under the bill, a standard voter registration form would be used to register at most times during the year (as it is in current law). However, a different form, the state general election day registration form--currently used only when registering at the polls on the day of a state general election--would be used not only at the state general election, but also when anyone registers within 30 days before any election (town or city election, state primary, state general election, presidential primary); but the standard form would still be used to register on the day of any election other than the state general election.

Things get even more complicated when looking at the bill's requirements for proving domicile. Anyone registering "in advance of an election"--whether one day, 30 days, or 100 days--must either present one of several listed documents (driver's license, vehicle registration, etc.) or present "other reasonable documentation' to establish domicile. Someone who does not have "reasonable documentation" would not be able to register--he or she would have to return with the documentation, or register at the polls on election day.

It will be virtually impossible for clerks and supervisors of the checklist to keep these requirements straight. The bill contains contradictory statements about what the supervisors are to do when a voter tries to present the required documents after an election, and even contradicts itself regarding what action is, or is not, sufficient to establish domicile, among other things.

When this comes to the House, I will be voting against this bill.