Apply law fairly
The right to vote is not something to take for granted. It is something to be cherished and exercised by those who have it.
The right to vote is also enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. In the U.S., those at least 18 years of can register to vote. How they vote, quite obviously, is up to them.
Political parties, on the other hand, have no basis in the Constitution. In fact, in his farewell address in 1796, President George Washington warned his audience about “cunning, ambitious and unprincipled” individuals who would seek to consolidate power through political parties.
Therefore, it is quite troubling to see the deeply partisan political divide regarding HB 1264 in New Hampshire. This bill, which Gov. Chris Sununu signed into law Friday, will require all voters to follow all state residency laws.
Specifically, the law will compel voters to obtain a driver’s license or non-driver identification and to register any vehicles in New Hampshire.
Heretofore, out-of-state students attending institutions such as Dartmouth College or the University of New Hampshire could vote in Granite State elections. The law still allows college students to vote in New Hampshire elections, but requires those voters to follow the same residency laws as all people who move to the state.
“House Bill 1264 restores equality and fairness to our elections, and the Supreme Court has ruled the bill is constitutional, while affirming that New Hampshire has a compelling state interest in seeing this bill enacted,” Sununu, a Republican, said shortly after signing the bill.
Meanwhile, Democrats, led by U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, each also former governors, use words such as “egregious,” “shameful,” and “voter suppression” to describe the new law.
It seems obvious that Democrats believe the law will make it more difficult for them to win elections, while Republicans believe it will help their cause.
We do not believe any law should be enacted for the purpose of helping a political party. If the new law withstands further legal scrutiny and ultimately goes into effect, it must be done in a transparent and fair manner.
The last thing New Hampshire’s election process needs is a law that directly increases the power of the Republican or Democratic parties. The law must be applied only so that it ensures fair elections.