Saturday, November 19, 2016

Governor-Elect Sununu Wants to Repeal Same Day Voter Registration

“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. We just need to modernize the system.”

That quote is from a story on NHPR on Sununu's plan to repeal same day voted registration in NH.  With all the issues facing us in NH, do we really need to spend time fixing something that is not broken? He admits that it's not about fraud or a rigged system and I agree that those charges are indeed nonsense. 13 states plus the District of Columbia have same day voter registration and 3 others have approved, but not yet implemented it. 
According to Ballotpedia "Opponents argue that same-day registration processing requirements unduly burden state and local governments. In addition, some argue that same-day registration encourages ill-informed and ill-prepared voters to participate in elections. Matthew Gagnon, a former staffer of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said, "The only people I want anywhere near a ballot box are those who have demonstrated they are actually invested enough in the process that they want to vote. That is the flaw with same-day voter registration: most of the people it serves are unengaged in the process."

Proponents argue quite differently: "Mitch Crane, a local Democratic Party official in Delaware, said, "Government works best when people have faith in their elected officials. That faith is best served through citizen participation. Citizen participation is best served by giving access to voting on Election Day to all citizens ... who choose to exercise that most basic democratic right."

In Moultonboro, many people registered to vote on November 8th ( I don't know the exact number, but early in the day it was more than 80) and most registered as republicans. They clearly came to vote for Trump. They may have not been " engaged" in any other race, but they were certainly engaged in the Presidential election and were rightly allowed to participate.
Sununu and opponents have this one all wrong. It is not up to anyone to place a prerequisite of being " engaged" before you are allowed to cast your ballot. The argument that your vote is being watered down is ridiculous. The point is supposed to be to increase voter turnout, not suppress it. 
I sincerely hope our new Governor decides to rearrange his priorities and focus on issues that matter most to citizens of NH instead of  trying to fix something that is not broken.

1 comment:

Observant Voter said...

I suspect the opposition to same day registration is not directed at Moultonboro, but to Hanover and Durham (and perhaps other college towns). The Republicans do not like the number of students who are not really full time residents using NH as their domicile (the state law definition for an eligible voter) the there are close elections. If not for same day registration it is likely Trump and Ayotte would have won in NH if you look at the registrations in both Hanover and Durham on election day and the margins the Democrats received.