Yearly Archive 2017

Byrich green

Democratic lawsuit – SB3 is the law for the mid-terms!

After over a year, Judge Brown ruled on a preliminary injunction preventing SB3 from taking effect before the mid-term elections, confirming the plaintiff’s argument that the new law places “a burden on the right to vote and disenfranchises low-income and minority populations” and many college students.  Moreover, Judge Brown wrote “voter fraud is not widespread, or even remotely commonplace” in New Hampshire and the following:

“Most importantly, the SB3 law does nothing to actually prevent voter fraud …. instead of combating fraud, the law simply imposes additional burdens on legitimate voters.

The state immediately challenged the ruling to the NH Supreme Court, which unanimously agreed with the state having made the decision that Judge Brown’s ruling will create confusion and disruption on election day.

The full case is still working its way through the courts. 

A summarized history and overview of the case is below.

On June 8, 2017, the Republican-sponsored New Hampshire Senate Bill 3, which may complicate same-day voter registration for New Hampshire college students, …… passed in the state Senate 14-9. It was signed into law in July.  The bill changes what domicile means in the context of voting and stipulates that proof of residence is required for same-day voters, including a written statement that verifies voters’ home addresses. It also authorizes government agents to visit a voter’s home to make sure that it is the voter’s primary residence.  A domicile exception is typically extended to college students.  SB3 is designed to tighten this up by requiring that college students provide letters, or other paperwork, proving their domiciliaries when they register to vote.

The NH Democratic party, the League of Women Voters and three individual voters are suing the state over this law, under a single lawsuit, which they believe will keep people who are legally entitled to vote from voting.

In September, Hillsborough County Judge Charles Temple placed a temporary restraining order on the state to keep officials from imposing any of the criminal penalties part of the law.  “The average voter seeking to register for the first time very well may decide that casting a vote is not worth a possible, $5,000 fine, a year in jail, or throwing himself/herself at the mercy of the prosecutor’s discretion.  To the Court, these provisions of SB3 act as a very serious detriment on the right to vote, and if there is a “compelling” need for them, the Court has yet to see it.” Temple wrote.

In spite of this lawsuit, on Jan 3, the Senate passed HB372, which further tightens eligibility requirements for voters.

The state of NH has refused to comply with a request for a voter database, which the plaintiffs believe will prove that there is no issue to address. The state claimed that the information is not relevant to the case at hand and it contains privileged information that cannot be released.

In April, Judge Temple rejected these arguments  and compelled the state to hand over the electronic voter database as well as make available communications about the law as it is being legislated.  In addition, a protective order must be crafted to keep sensitive information private.

Three Republican legislators involved in crafting SB3 – Kathleen Hoelzel, Barbara Griffin & Regina Birdsell – filed motions to squash subpoenas seeking information that they had proving or disproving instances of voter fraud before last year’s vote.  In July, Judge Brown ruled in their favor.    However, the Judge granted the prosecution to right to depose attorneys Bud Fitch and Matthew Broadhead.

The parties are having difficulty agreed upon the content of the protective order.  Asst Attorney General Anne Edwards wants the court to support keeping dates of birth, dates of naturalization and places of birth out of the public record when the database is handed over to the plaintiffs.  The plaintiffs filed a motion in response.

A hearing on the protective order was held on May 8.  At that hearing, Judge Temple suggested that he recuse himself as the judge in this case going forward due to a close friendship with Attorney Byron Gould, who was recently hired by the state Attorney General’s office.  The litigants suggested instead that Attorney Gould be barred from the case.

In June, Judge Temple did recuse himself.  Judge Brown has taken over the case, which has moved to Manchester.  One of his first rulings will be to consider the state’s request that he prevent three college professors from testifying on behalf of the plaintiffs.  Their testimony will cover:

  • The “understandability” of the law
  • Its impact on lines
  • Frequency of voter fraud

The state now asserts that the issue is not voter fraud, but rather the opportunity for voter fraud.

With the move to Manchester, the trial, scheduled to begin on August 20, 2018, is being rescheduled.

In the meantime, in July, the Governor signed HB1264 into law after the NH Supreme Court ruled on its constitutionality.  Heretofore, out-of-state students attending institutions such as Dartmouth College or UNH must have a NH driver’s license or NH non-drivers ID to vote in NH.

In January 2019, the NH Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision and denied the plaintiffs usage of the state’s voter database to argue that the law unfairly burdens those who are more likely to support their party.

And the saga continues …..

Is voter fraud really an issue in NH?  The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program is aimed at preventing voter fraud by identifying duplicate voter registration records among those voluntarily provided by states.  Though there are some concerns over security and results, 28 states participated after the 2016 general election.  Out of 94, 610 voters, approximately 140 records were required further investigation – 51 of which were sent to the Attorney General’s office.

Per the NH Grassroots Newsletter of Jan 2:

“Why this matters: On November 28th, an amendment to HB 372, authored by Republican Senators Regina Birdsell and Jim Gray, passed the Senate Election Law Committee on a 3-2 party-line vote. The bill would redefine “domicile” status for voting purposes, effectively forcing registrants to declare residency upon registering to vote, chilling the right to vote for college students in New Hampshire. By forcing students to declare residency, this bill would act as a de facto poll tax, moving the goal posts on students who are legally allowed to vote in New Hampshire.”

Bynew142017

DEM (donate every month)

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Byrich green

NH Grassroots Newsletter

NOTE THAT THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE NEWSLETTER
FEATURING THE SUMMARY AND ANYTHING SPECIFIC TO THE NASHUA

Congratulations to Ben Clemons, Zandra Rice Hawkins, and Byron Champlin on their victories!

We celebrated HUGE wins last Tuesday night with victories in three special elections in Concord and Nashua. Tomorrow we have the chance to continue our momentum by electing Democrats at every level during Town Meeting Day! These local town elections take place in over 200 towns and give voters across the state the chance to elect Selectman, Supervisors of the Checklist, Moderators, and other incredibly important local roles.

It is so important that great voters, like you, talk to your family, friends, and neighbors about Town Meeting Day!

The NHDP is also looking for volunteers to report results tomorrow night. 

Can we count on you to turn out to vote and help us collect these results? Contact our Political Team at political@nhdp.org to learn more.


Please continue to use this regular newsletter as a tool for your local committee meetings or as a supplement to your own regular newsletter.  

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have.

Best,

Slate Goodwin                                                        Sarah Guggenheimer
Outreach Director                                          Deputy Communications Director  sgoodwin@nhdp.org                                               sguggenheimer@nhdp.org

Emma Tyler                                                            Ben Ernst
Deputy Executive Director                                      Political Director
etyler@nhdp.org                                                     bernst@nhdp.org

Contact Your Regional Staff!

All members of town and county committees with specific issues should reach out to their regional point of contact.Emma Tyler is the NHDP’s new Deputy Executive Director after serving as Organizing Director for the Coordinated Campaign. She will also be the point of contact for Belknap and Carroll Counties and can be reached at etyler@nhdp.org.Erin Turmelle, following her incredibly successful run as Coordinated Campaign Director in New Hampshire, will be the point of contact for Hillsborough County and the cities of Manchester and Nashua and can be reached at eturmelle@nhdp.org.

Slate Goodwin is now the Party’s Outreach Director after serving as a Regional Organizing Director during the Coordinated Campaign and will be the point of contact for Coos, Grafton, and Merrimack Counties and can be reached at sgoodwin@nhdp.org.

Ben Ernst is the former State Senate Campaigns Director and is the NHDP’s new Political Director. He will be the point of contact for Cheshire, Rockingham, Strafford, and Sullivan Counties and can be reached at bernst@nhdp.org.

On The Floor

Kindergarten Funding

Starting 10 AM, Thursday, March 14th, Senate Chamber

SENATE -Education and Workforce Development – SB 266relative to funding for kindergarten pupils, keno revenues, and school building aid.

Why this matters:  Keno revenues have fallen millions of dollars short of estimates creating an underfunded Kindergarten program in New Hampshire. Kindergarten education should not be tied to an unreliable funding source.

SMART ACT

Starting 10 AM, Thursday, March 14th, Senate Chamber

SENATE – Election Law and Municipal Affairs – SB 7establishing the secure modern accurate registration act (SMART ACT).

Why this matters:  The SMART ACT would allow people to register to vote at the DMV, making registering to vote easier and more accessible for all eligible voters in New Hampshire. Democrats view it as our responsibility to encourage an engaged and active electorate, and this bill will help do just that. Currently, a majority of states across the country have taken steps to encourage voter registration. The SMART Act is a New Hampshire solution that will modernize how people can register to vote.

Reversing Tax Cuts to Corporations

Starting 10 AM, Thursday, March 14th, Senate Chamber

SENATE – Ways and Means – SB 301relative to the rates of the business profits tax and business enterprise tax, and relative to revenue sharing with cities and towns.

Why this matters: In Sununu’s 2017 budget, he pushed through a $100 million tax cut for the wealthiest 3% of corporations that they didn’t need and didn’t want. Democrats want to make sure Granite Staters are the ones who get tax cuts not Sununu’s highest dollar donors. This bill would rectify Sununu’s disastrous budget and give relief to those who deserve it immediately.

Minimum Wage

Starting 1 PM, Thursday, March 14th, House Chamber

HOUSE – Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services – HB 186establishing a state minimum wage and providing for adjustments to the minimum wage.

Why this matters: This bill will establish a minimum wage here in New Hampshire. Democrats firmly believe that all Granite Staters should be paid a living wage, which is why they’ve been fighting this fight for years. Now, with Democratic majorities in the State Senate and State House, they’re working hard to make that happen. This bill will establish the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour- there are several bills in the legislature this session addressing this critical issue, each at varying levels.

Results On The Floor

Inaugural Committee Accountability

Thursday, March 7th, Senate Chamber 

SENATE -Election Law and Municipal Affairs – SB 105, relative to contributions to inaugural committees.

Why this matters:  After the jarring reports of Governor Sununu’s inappropriate use of inaugural funds, this legislation will bring some much-needed transparency to the inaugural committee. No Granite Staters should worry how the governor is using these funds. SB 105 will end the lack of transparency and make sure Sununu isn’t engaging in pay to play operations.

PASSED: Senate 22-2

Minor Primary Voting

Thursday, March 7th, House Chamber

HOUSE – Election Law – CACR 5, allowing 17 year olds to vote in a primary election if they will be 18 by the corresponding general election

Why this matters: Currently, 21 states allow 17 year olds to vote if they will be 18 by the general election. Our democracy only works when people participate and wherever possible we should encourage young eligible voters to get involved. 17 year olds should be allowed to have a say in which candidates they will be supporting in the general election.

Did Not Pass: 217-151 (Needed 2/3 to Pass)

No Excuse Absentee Voting

Thursday, March 7th, House Chamber

HOUSE – House Election Law – HB 611allowing voters to vote by absentee ballot.

Passed: 198-163

AND

HOUSE – House Election Law – CACR 6relating to elections. Providing that any inhabitant who so desires may vote by absentee ballot in primary and general elections.

Did Not Pass: 208-151 (Needed 2/3 to Pass)

Why this matters: Currently, in order to vote absentee, a voter must have an “excuse” to cast their ballot absentee. This law will remove any judgment calls by local officials and any barrier of entry to the absentee voting process. This law will make voting easier for Granite Staters.

Transgender Anti-Discrimination Expansion

Thursday, March 7th, House Chamber

HOUSE – Judiciary – HB 608expanding the law against discrimination based on gender identity to other areas of the law prohibiting discrimination.

Why this matters: Following the vitally important HB 1319, which passed last year and protected transgender civil liberties, HB 608 will continue this work and further block discrimination against Granite Staters because of their gender identity. Nothing should stand in the way of Granite Staters’ ability to live their lives free of prejudice and bigotry and this legislation will help the transgender community do just that.

Passed: 230-122

Action Alert

Report Results from Town Meeting Day!

The NHDP is looking for volunteers to report results to us on the night of Town Meeting Day. Please reply to this email or email political@nhdp.org if you’re able to help with the numbers.

Registering Your Committee with SOS

REMINDER: All town and county committees who have expenses or contributions of over $500 in that two-year cycle must re-register the committee with the NH Secretary of State. The first financial report is due on June 5, 2019- get ahead of this now by re-registering your committee. Please let us know how we can help.

County Caucuses

Every two years, Democrats from all 10 counties as well as the cities of Manchester and Nashua gather to elect their Chairs, Vice Chairs, Secretaries, Treasurers, and Delegates At-Large for the state convention. The following is the list of dates for these caucuses. All registered Democrats are welcome to attend and run for positions within our county leadership.

Nashua
April 1st, 7 PM
Nashua Senior Center

Upcoming FITN Visits

As the First in the Nation Primary season officially heats up, please use this section to learn about when candidates will be visiting the state!
March 16th – Jay Inslee 
Bedford Meet and Greet
Email bedfordnhdems@gmail.com to RSVP and for location
10:30 AM

Please note: This is a list of public events that candidates have made us aware of. The New Hampshire Democratic Party does its best to track all candidate and potential candidate visits to the state, however, if you are aware of a pending trip not listed or have more details on an event, please reach out to the office at political@nhdp.org to let us know!

This communication does not imply an endorsement or favoritism of any kind to any Democratic candidates actively engaged in competitive primary contests.

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