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League of Women Voters Seeks Temporary Relief from New Voter Law

With the September elections just around the corner, the League of Women Voters is  asking a court to temporarily prevent the state's new voter law from taking effect. (J. Shlabotnik/Flckr)
With the September elections just around the corner, the League of Women Voters is asking a court to temporarily prevent the state's new voter law from taking effect. (J. Shlabotnik/Flckr)
August 28, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. -- There's a new filing by attorneys for the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire in connection with their constitutional challenge of Senate Bill 3, the state's new voting law.

The League already had a suit pending that argues the new law is unnecessarily complex and could dissuade people from even trying to register to vote. New Hampshire League President Liz Tentarelli said the papers filed Friday ask the court for a preliminary injunction to stop the law from taking effect on September 8, while the court considers the merits of the constitutional challenge.

"Our filing would prevent implementation for the series of elections that are coming up in the fall, which include a number of big-city elections,” Tentarelli said; "because in the cities is where we often have a lot of people moving in and out. "

New Hampshire allows same-day voter registration, and Tentarelli said the new rules would make it far too complicated for people in transition to be able to register to vote. SB 3, which was approved by lawmakers this spring, requires voters registering within 30 days of an election to provide documents that demonstrate an intent to make a place their legal domicile.

Tentarelli said the law puts unnecessary burdens on citizens who want to vote, to the point that she believes it will intimidate people.

"The box that one must check off that says I understand I am subject to voter fraud if I don't provide these documents within 10 or 30 days is a very intimidating thing,” she said.

Three of the plaintiffs in the League's challenge are students who attend local colleges. Tentarelli said they are among a much larger group of local residents who could have a hard time registering under the new law.

“People who are registering for the first time, people in transitional stages of their lives, college students, people for instance recently released from prison,” Tentarelli cited as examples.

The voting law also is being challenged by the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH