The Bulletin Board

State spent $4.17 million defending 2017 voting law

By: - January 20, 2022 5:02 pm
Money and hammer,Wooden gavel and dollar banknotes

The lawsuits were filed by the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire and the state Democratic Party. (Krisanapong Detraphiphat | Getty Images)

The state spent $4.17 million in attorneys’ fees for two lawsuits over a 2017 Republican-backed voting law, according to a letter from Attorney General John Formella to Sen. Cindy Rosenwald.

Both the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire and the state Democratic Party sued the state over the law – often called Senate Bill 3 – which required newly registered voters to provide proof of residency before casting a ballot.

After the New Hampshire Supreme Court struck down the law as unconstitutional in July, the League of Women Voters and the state Democratic Party asked the state to cover “reasonable attorneys’ fees.” The League of Women Voters’ attorneys requested $7.75 million but settled for a $3 million payment from the state for over 11,000 billable hours.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party was represented by Shaheen & Gordon, which requested $383,815 and agreed to a $350,000 payment.

And the state incurred $827,165 in fees from outside lawyers they hired to help with the case. The New Hampshire Department of Justice said it spent 4,176 billable hours defending the case.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s energy and environment reporter. She 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.