The Bulletin Board

Senate to vote on changing voting requirements in state constitution as House takes up debate

By: - February 23, 2022 2:00 pm
People wait to vote, with a sign saying "Vote Here" in the foreground

The Senate’s version of the legislation – CACR 36 – will be up for a vote on Thursday. (Stephen Maturen | Getty Images)

Both chambers of the Legislature have taken up proposals to change the wording in New Hampshire’s constitution about who gets to cast a ballot in the state.

The two versions of the legislation do the same thing, changing the word domicile to primary residence, and stipulating that only citizens of the country and state have the right to vote. But voting rights organizations like America Votes and the League of Women Voters say citizenship of New Hampshire is unclear and impossible to prove. 

The Senate’s version of the legislation – CACR 36 – will be up for a vote on Thursday, having secured the support of the majority of the committee, who recommend the legislation move forward in a 3-2 vote, which indicates it could have a good shot of passing the Senate floor. At a Senate hearing, 133 people signed in support of the bill and 154 in opposition.

Those in favor of the legislation say that it is meant to protect election integrity and clarify who can vote in New Hampshire. Opponents say it’s unnecessary and fosters misplaced distrust in elections. The legislation also raised concerns that it would disenfranchise college students who are legally domiciled in New Hampshire.

The House proposal came in the form of a non-germane amendment to CACR 15 – the underlying legislation would give 17-year-olds the right to vote in a primary election provided they would turn 18 by the time of the general election.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee reported on energy and environment for New Hampshire Bulletin. She also previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.