My wife and I had a second opportunity to attend a Presidential Town Hall on Sunday Dec 8. This one was for Joe Biden, with an introduction from Annie Kuster and an endorsement from John Kerry.
This event drew much more attention than the one we’d attended prior. It was held in the NCC gym to a full house.
Annie truly provided only an introduction. John spoke off of the podium for about 30 minutes, taking no questions. Joe spoke for less time, then fielded 4-5 questions from the audience.
The theme of the town hall was the value of Joe Biden’s experience and his concerns around the state of America’s “moral compass”. Climate change was probably the single most discussed topic, though immigration, the electoral college and America’s standing in the world were also discussed at some length. A great experience! Photos below – they’re not the best as we sat behind the podium, but you’ll get a feel for the crowd just the same.
I’ll start off this brief post by stating that NDCC does not endorse any particular Presidential candidate.
This town hall was held on Sunday Oct 27, so your webmaster and his wife were able to attend. One of the best things about living is NH is the incredible access that we have to the candidates.
This town hall was conducted in the atrium at NCC for about an hour. There were maybe 100 people in attendance. Many were very into two of Tom’s signature issues – climate change and impeachment.
Tom looks exactly as he does on those TV ads – down to the belt. He took a number of questions during the formal meeting and stayed well after for brief questions and photos. I was one of those who stayed, asked a question, and shook his hand. I wouldn’t say that he disclosed anything new, but having him state his positions in person has a different impact than a TV ad.
I will continue to post articles on various Town Halls as I am able to attend them.
After roughly two years in the courts, one aspect of SB3 appears as though it will be implemented through “arbitrary enforcement” in the Presidential Primary, with Federal Judge Anderson both supporting and rejecting some of the state’s arguments. This portion of the law has to do with the state’s definition of “domicile”, making it more restrictive than previous having an impact on temporary residents such as college students.
The other aspect of SB3, requiring additional information for new voter registration, is still being challenged in the courts.
Officially, SB3 was signed into law of Sept 8, 2017 but has been in the courts since due to a lawsuit filed by the NH Democratic party, the League of Women Voters and several individual voters. The challenge is based on the belief that it will create voter suppression and general voter confusion around enforcement of the new requirements. It was not enforced for the Nov 5 municipal election.
Some highlights that led to this point are below.
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 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.”
There will be 33 Democratic candidates on the NH Primary ballot! Check for local candidate visits in the calendar!
Cory Booker was the 1st candidate to announce a Nashua office! 83 W. Pearl St.
Elizabeth Warren Nashua office – 60 Main St.
Bernie Sanders Nashua office – 77 Derry Rd – Hudson
Joe Biden Nashua office – 142 N. Main St – Suite 510
Andrew Yang – 115 Main St
Pete Buttigieg – 37 Main St
The TOP 5 candidates based on a NH November poll:
1. Joe Biden (DE) – former Vice President – 20%
2. Elizabeth Warren – MA Senator – 16%
3. Pete Buttigieg – IN – Mayor of South Bend – 15%
4. Bernie Sanders -VT Senator – 14%
5. Tulsi Gabbard – HI – US Representative
And the rest ……
Cory Booker – NJ Senator
Amy Klobuchar – MN Senator
Andrew Yang – NY – Entrepreneur – Founder of Venture for America
Julian Castro – TX – Former HUD Secretary
John Delaney – MD – Former US Representative
Marianne Williamson – CA – Entrepreneur
Michael Bennet – CO Senator
Tom Steyer – CA – Entrepreneur
Deval Patrick – former MA Governor
Michael Bloomberg – former NYC Mayor and Entrepreneur
Eric Swalwell – CA – US Representative (July 2019)
John Hickenlooper – CO – former Governor (Aug 2019)
Seth Moulton – MA – US Representative (Aug 2019)
Jay Inslee – WA Governor (Aug 2019)
Kirsten Gillibrand – NY Senator (Aug 2019)
Mike Gravel – AK – former Senator (Sept 2019)
Bill De Blasio – NY – Mayor of New York City (Sept 2019)
Tim Ryan – OH – US Representative (Oct 2019)
Beto O’Rourke – TX – former US representative (Nov 2019)
Wayne Messam – FL – Mayor of Miramar (Nov 2019)
Kamala Harris – CA Senator (Dec 2019)
Joe Sestak – PA – former US Representative (Dec 2019)
Steve Bullock – MO Governor (Dec 2019)
Next round – Dec 19 from Los Angeles hosted by PBS
Qualified for the December debate. * = has a local campaign office.
This was the 2nd straight convention that my wife and I attended – and we’re glad we did. Both times, in my opinion, the biggest excitement was outside the SNHU Arena, though there was plenty of activity all around from 7AM well into the afternoon. If you think of the event as an elaborate Democratic pep rally, you’ll be pretty close to understanding the day.
Outside, from 7AM, there were groups of supporters for almost every candidate and cause positioned somewhere on the front lawn holding signs and chanting a slogan. It was packed and loud, but under control.
Tickets are available for sale, but if you have a connection to a candidate, they often provide tickets, as was the case with us. We were part of the Warren delegation. The event was Sold Out, though some of the higher sections of the arena had open seats.
Once inside, the aisles are surrounded by vendors selling Democratic wares (I bought a button) and booths representing local politicians, organizations and causes.
The event started at around 9:15 with Ray Buckley, NH Democratic Chairman. Each NH county (and Nashua specifically) had a delegation in the front of the arena marked by an identification sign similar to what you might envision on TV. I am not sure how much actual business is done on the convention floor – certainly none during the hours that we were there.
Each “major” presidential candidate (mostly those to be involved in the 3rd debate) had a section of supporters grouped together and got about ten minutes to speak. In between, our elected officers in Washington all had roughly equal time along with some local dignitaries. Made for a long day as it went well into the afternoon.
These are some scenes from outside the Arena before the convention officially started. Sorry if I missed your favorite candidate.
We were sitting pretty far in the back, but this what the convention floor looked like.
And the following photo was provided by the local Tulsi 2020 campaign.