New Hampshire advances bill to disenfranchise thousands of college student voters

Kira Lerner Political Reporter, Think Progress

New Hampshire’s Senate voted on Tuesday to advance legislation that would require voters to be residents of the state, effectively disenfranchising thousands of college students who are currently considered eligible voters.

All 14 Republicans voted to advance House Bill 372, which would tighten the state’s voter registration requirements to require eligible voters to be legal “residents” of New Hampshire. Current law allows people with a “domicile” in the state to cast a ballot.

In order to declare residency, citizens would have to obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license and register their cars in the state within 60 days of registering to vote. According to Slate, a driver’s license costs $50 and car registration is even more expensive — leading Democrats and voting advocates to criticize the requirement as a modern-day poll tax.

The bill now moves to the House, which passed a different version of the legislation last year. Gov. John Sununu (R) has expressed his opposition to the measure, although he has not yet promised a veto.

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn, who has led the opposition to the legislation, has called it “a sly political ploy to stop democracy from happening,” according to New Hampshire’s WMUR. Woodburn also noted that the bill “builds on the myth” propagated by President Trump that there was widespread voter fraud in the state in 2016.

After the 2016 election, New Hampshire became a ripe target for claims of voter fraud, as Hillary Clinton won the swing state and Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) narrowly defeated her Republican opponent. Trump, prominent members of his administration, and members of his voting commission falsely claimed that because thousands of people with out-of-state IDs registered and voted in New Hampshire, massive fraud was able to swing the state’s vote.

In reality, many of the voters with out-of-state IDs were college students who can legally vote in the state where they attend school.

As the narrative gained traction across conservative media and among prominent GOP voting officials, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner (D), who is also a member of Trump’s voting commission, disputed any claims of fraud. “The result as we have recorded it is real and valid,” he said during the commission’s second meeting, shooting down commission chair Kris Kobach (R)’s narrative.

Yet Republicans in New Hampshire haven’t let that stop them from pushing the legislation to disenfranchise college students.

“We’re trying to fix trust,” Republican state Sen. Andy Sanborn said to justify his vote for the legislation.  “We’re trying to fix accuracy. We’re trying to fix the belief that your vote counts.”

The proposed measure is likely unconstitutional. The 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the imposition of poll taxes in federal elections, and the Equal Protection Clause extends that protection to state elections.


Reposted from Think Progress

Kira Lerner is a Political Reporter for ThinkProgress. She previously worked as a reporter covering litigation and policy for the legal newswire Law360. She has also worked as an investigative journalist with the Chicago Innocence Project where she helped develop evidence that led to the exoneration of a wrongfully convicted man from Illinois prison. A native of the Washington, D.C. area, Kira earned her bachelor's degree at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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