Same-day voting helps NH turnout
New Hampshire continues to rank as one of the top states in voter turnout, and one reason why is the ease that same-day registration offers to Granite Staters.
Same-day registration, despite catcalls from conservative activists about voter fraud, offers the procrastinator in all of us the opportunity to have our voices heard, even if stopping by the polling station on Election Day is sandwiched between other chores or a lunch break cut short.
The current law permits residents to go to their polling location with proof of residence and fill out a "stand registration form" to obtain a ballot, according to the statute.
There are currently 13 states, as well as the District of Columbia, where voters can register the day of the election and immediately step into a polling booth.
It should come as no surprise that several of these states – New Hampshire, Maine, Minnesota and Wisconsin – constantly are ranked in the top five for voter turnout every presidential election.
Of note, the New Hampshire secretary of state’s office said Friday that the final turnout percentage should be available sometime in the upcoming week.
According to New Hampshire Public Radio, Gov.-elect Chris Sununu would repeal same-day voting in the state.
He said, "Most states don’t have it" and "it can cause problems," although it has been on the books here for nearly a quarter-century.
"We just need our laws tighter. It’s not about fraud and a rigged system, that nonsense. It’s really just about making sure that our rules are clear, that they’re unambiguous and that people can believe that as a full-time resident of the state of New Hampshire, your vote isn’t being watered down by someone who’s drive-thru voting, drive-by voting," he told NHPR.
Sununu said there is too much "gray area" in terms of who is a resident. Other opponents say it leaves open the possibility of mischief or voting more than once, which conservative activists demonstrate by documenting people casting multiple ballots. But to simply verify the ease of which it is to break a law doesn’t give us credence to do so.
Putting same-day registration on the chopping block will disenfranchise enough voters to sway tight, hard-fought races. Just look at the 2016 results here: Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire’s four electoral votes by less than half a percent, and the U.S. Senate seat was decided by about 1,000 votes.
More hurdles for voters will obstruct our democracy and New Hampshire’s long-standing political heritage. Any attempts to pursue these obstacles should be quickly squashed by our lawmakers.