New Hampshire Supreme Court strikes down 2017 law requiring proof of residence to vote
The New Hampshire Supreme Court on Friday voted in a 4-0 decision that a 2017 state law requiring proof of residence to vote is unconstitutional, saying that it “imposes unreasonable burdens on the right to vote.”
The law, also known as Senate Bill 3, required that those registering to vote 30 days or more before an election show documents to prove residence, while those registering less than 30 days before voting do not have to show proof at the time of registration but must provide verification through several methods. This required signing an affidavit that the listed residence was correct in addition to providing documentation within 10 days or the secretary of state’s office mailing a verifying form to the address.
The New Hampshire Democratic Party and the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire sued the state shortly after the law went into effect.
Friday’s decision validates previous rulings made by a lower court in the state, saying the findings made by that court were correct.
“We are persuaded by the trial court’s analysis and determine that its findings are supported by the record before us,” the decision reads. “Accordingly, we conclude that SB 3 is unconstitutional, as the State has failed to demonstrate that SB 3 is substantially related to the precise governmental interests it set forth as justifications necessitating the burdens the law imposes on the right to vote.”
New Hampshire Democrats celebrated the ruling, calling it a “major victory” for voters in the state.
“For years, Chris Sununu and the NH GOP have tried to make it harder to vote, and we’re pleased that the New Hampshire Supreme Court found that SB 3 was an unconstitutional, overly burdensome, and discriminatory bill meant to discourage eligible voters from casting their ballots,” the state’s Democratic Party chairman, Raymond Buckley, said in a statement. “Today, we celebrate this incredible victory for voting rights. Tomorrow, we will continue to work to protect voting rights in the Granite State.”
The League of Women Voters of New Hampshire echoed the sentiments, saying “we must ensure that further attempts to restrict voting rights in New Hampshire will be curtailed by this ruling.”
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, called the decision “disappointing” but said in a statement that “we have to respect their decision.”
“I encourage the legislature to take the court’s opinion into account and continue working to make commonsense reforms to ensure the integrity of New Hampshire’s elections,” he added.
CNN has also reached out to the New Hampshire Republican Party for comment.