NH Supreme Court Strikes Down Trump Inspired Voter Suppression

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The New Hampshire state Supreme Court has now ruled in favor of a voting rights advocacy group and certain individual voters who brought a court challenge against a suppressive set of guidelines surrounding voter registration in the state. The court, which includes four justices, was unanimous in its conclusion, upholding a previous lower court decision that the challenged law was “unconstitutional because it unreasonably burdens the right to vote,” which stands in contrast to the guidelines laid out in the state Constitution. The state Supreme Court added that the suppressive law “must be stricken in its entirety.”

As NBC explains, the law that had been challenged “led to the creation of new forms that people registering to vote within 30 days of an election or on the day of an election were required to fill out if they didn’t have proper documentation providing proof of residence.” Voters were then required to bring documentation showing proof of residence to local election authorities within a set period of time, but if voters were unable to do so, then they could face fines and criminal prosecution. The documentation that could support a residence claim included property tax forms, utility bills, and the like — but individuals like college students who spend considerable time away from home might simply not have these materials.

New Hampshire Judge David Anderson, who ruled against the law last year, noted that the legislation “does not stop someone at the polls from casting a ballot; it discourages them from showing up in the first place,” saying that the measure was “in its entirety… facially unconstitutional.” Republican state authorities in New Hampshire expended considerable resources in their attempts to get the law in place, including via appealing Anderson’s ruling. Then-state Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes (D), describing New Hampshire Republican Governor Chris Sununu’s effort to appeal Anderson’s ruling, insisted that it was “certainly not the time for taxpayer money to go to outside partisan legal counsel for partisan litigation that has already been struck down as unconstitutional.”