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NH Youth Groups Urge Senate to End Filibuster, Pass For The People Act

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Residents of Dover turned out on Saturday for a John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act rally at Henry Law Park. (Brian Beihl/Open Democracy)
Residents of Dover turned out on Saturday for a John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act rally at Henry Law Park. (Brian Beihl/Open Democracy)
 By Lily Bohlke - Producer, Contact
May 10, 2021

DOVER, N.H. -- New Hampshire voting-rights advocates joined a national call to action on Saturday to promote the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, as well as the For the People Act.

The bills would bring numerous democracy reforms to the Granite State, from early voting and no-excuse absentee voting to automatic voter registration.

Griffin Sinclair-Wingate, co-director of operations and development for the New Hampshire Youth Movement, said it's been disappointing to see the state reverse some of the policies it put in place for the pandemic in 2020.

"Early voting, and automatic voter registration would be absolutely huge for New Hampshire," Sinclair-Wingate asserted. "It would make it so much easier for young people and working people in New Hampshire to cast their ballots."

Nationwide, nearly 400 bills have been introduced to restrict voting this year, including in New Hampshire, where state senators are hearing testimony today on House Bill 292, which would require anyone requesting an absentee ballot to an address other than their primary residence, such as college students, snowbirds, older voters, to either show an ID to a town clerk or get their ballot notarized.

The For the People Act already has passed in the U.S. House, but faces a difficult path in the Senate, split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, with filibuster rules that require 60 votes for most bills to advance.

"We would love to see them come out in support of abolishing the filibuster," Sinclair-Wingate remarked. "Talk about another huge hurdle for democratic decision-making and the power of our democracy, that can be a huge barrier to passing this bill."

Brian Beihl, deputy director for the nonprofit Open Democracy, thinks measures such as House Bill 292 are shortsighted on the part of the New Hampshire General Court.

He argued any law that restricts voting rights doesn't just affect members of one party.

"These hurt all voters of all parties," Beihl emphasized. "And that's why the federal legislation is really going to make a difference here, by setting that base level of what every state should allow for voting rules."

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