HB404 (2018) Detail

Relative to eligibility to vote, voter registration forms, and absentee ballot requests.


HB 404 - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2017 SESSION

17-0743

03/09

 

HOUSE BILL 404

 

AN ACT relative to eligibility to vote, voter registration forms, and absentee ballot requests.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Bates, Rock. 7

 

COMMITTEE: Election Law

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill modifies various provisions relating to who is eligible to vote and eliminates the separate election day voter registration form.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

17-0743

03/09

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Seventeen

 

AN ACT relative to eligibility to vote, voter registration forms, and absentee ballot requests.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Voter; Office Holder.  Amend RSA 654:1, I to read as follows:

I.  Every [inhabitant] resident of the state, having a single established domicile [for voting purposes], being a citizen of the United States, of the age provided for in Article 11 of Part First of the Constitution of New Hampshire, shall have a right at any meeting or election, to vote in the town, ward, or unincorporated place in which he or she is [domiciled] a resident.  An inhabitant's domicile for voting purposes is that one place where a person, more than any other place, has established a physical presence and manifests an intent to maintain a single continuous presence for domestic, social, and civil purposes relevant to participating in democratic self-government.  A person has the right to change domicile at any time, however a mere intention to change domicile in the future does not, of itself, terminate an established domicile before the person actually moves.

2  Voter Registration.  Amend RSA 654:7, I(c) to read as follows:

(c)  A resident of the state who is domiciled in the town or city in which the applicant is registering to vote and not otherwise disqualified to vote.

3  Voter Registration.  Amend RSA 654:7, III to read as follows:

III.  If an applicant is unable to provide the proof of qualifications as required in RSA 654:12, he or she may register by completing the necessary affidavits, pursuant to RSA 654:12, and completing the form in subparagraph IV(b)[, unless the person is registering at the polling place on the date of a state general election.  If an applicant is registering at the polling place on the date of a state general election and is unable to provide the proof of qualifications as required in RSA 654:12, he or she may register by completing the form in subparagraph IV(c) under oath, which oath may be witnessed by an election official or any other person, working in conjunction with the supervisors of the checklist, who is authorized by law to administer oaths, including, but not limited to, any justice of the peace or notary public; should the applicant not otherwise have proof of identity and therefore be relying upon the form for proof of identity, the act of swearing to the form shall constitute sufficient proof of identity for the purposes of any person administering the oath, notwithstanding any language to the contrary in any laws relating to the administering of oaths for other purposes].

4  Voter Registration Form.  Amend RSA 654:7, IV(b) to read as follows:

(b)  The secretary of state shall prescribe the form of the voter registration form to be used for voter registrations, transfers, or updates [other than those at the polling place on the date of a state general election], which shall be in substantially the following form:

___  NEW REGISTRATION I am not registered to vote in New Hampshire

___  TRANSFER I am registered to vote in New Hampshire and have moved my voting domicile to a new town or ward in New Hampshire

___  NAME CHANGE/ADDRESS UPDATE I am registered to vote in this town/ward and have changed my name/address

Date  _________________

VOTER REGISTRATION FORM

(Please print or type)

1.  Name  __________________________________________________________________

Last (suffix) First Full Middle Name

2.  Domicile Address  ________________________________________________________

Street Ward Number

______________________________________________________________________________

Town or City Zip Code

3.  Mailing Address if different than in 2  _______________________________________

Street

______________________________________________________________________________

Town or City Zip Code

4.  Place and Date of Birth  ____________________________________________________

Town or City State

Date_________________

5.  Are you a citizen of the United States?  Yes  _____ No  _____

If a naturalized citizen, give name of court where and date when naturalized ______________________________________________________________________________

6.  Place last registered to vote  ________________________________________________

Street Ward Number

7.  Name under which previously registered, if different from above

______________________________________________________________________________

8.  Party Affiliation (if any)  ___________________________________________________

9.  Driver’s License Number  __________________________State  __________________

If you do not have a valid driver’s license, provide the last four digits of your social security number ____________

My name is ____________________.  I am today registering to vote in the city/town of ____________________, New Hampshire.  If a city, ward number __________.

I  understand that to vote in this ward/town, I must be at least 18 years of age, I must be a United States citizen, and I must be a resident who is domiciled in this ward/town.  

I understand that a person can claim only one state and one city/town as his or her domicile at a time.  A domicile is that place, to which upon temporary absence, a person has the intention of returning.  By registering or voting today, I am acknowledging that I am not a resident who is domiciled or voting in any other state or any other city/town.

In declaring New Hampshire as my domicile, I realize that I am not qualified to vote in the state or federal elections in another state.

If I have any questions as to whether I am entitled to vote in this city/town, I am aware that a supervisor of the checklist is available to address my questions or concerns.

I acknowledge that I have read and understand the above qualifications for voting and do hereby swear, under the penalties for voting fraud set forth below, that I am qualified to vote in the above-stated city/town, and, if registering on election day, that I have not voted and will not vote at any other polling place this election.

____________________   ___________________________________________________

Date Signature of Applicant

In accordance with RSA 659:34, the penalty for knowingly or purposefully providing false information when registering to vote or voting is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of imprisonment not to exceed one year and a fine not to exceed $2,000.  Fraudulently registering to vote or voting is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000.

5  Application to Town or City Clerk.  Amend the introductory paragraph of  RSA 654:8 to read as follows:

654:8  Application to Town or City Clerk.  The provisions of this section shall apply in all cities and in all towns.  Any [person] resident who has his or her domicile in any town or city in this state and whose name does not appear on the checklist of said town or city may apply to the town or city clerk, or to the supervisors of the checklist as provided in RSA 654:11, for the purpose of having his name added thereto by filling out the form provided for in RSA 654:7.  The office of the town or city clerk shall be required to accept applications from such persons under the following conditions:

6  Determining Qualifications of Applicant.  Amend the introductory paragraph of RSA 654:12, I(a) to read as follows:

(a)  CITIZENSHIP.  The supervisors of the checklist, or the town or city clerk, shall accept from the applicant any one of the following as proof of citizenship: the applicant's birth certificate, passport, naturalization papers if the applicant is a naturalized citizen, a qualified voter affidavit, [a sworn statement on the general election day voter registration form,] or any other reasonable documentation which indicates the applicant is a United States citizen.  The qualified voter affidavit shall be in the following form, and shall be retained in accordance with RSA 33-A:3-a:

7  Determining Qualifications of Applicant.  Amend RSA 654:12, I(b) to read as follows:

(b)  AGE.  Any reasonable documentation indicating the applicant will be 18 years of age or older at the next election, or, if the applicant does not have reasonable documentation in his or her possession at the place and time of voter registration, a qualified voter affidavit, which shall be retained in accordance with RSA 33-A:3-a[, or a sworn statement on the general election day voter registration form].

8  Determining Qualifications of Applicant.  Amend the introductory paragraph of RSA 654:12, I(c) to read as follows:

(c)  DOMICILE.  Any reasonable documentation which indicates that the applicant has a domicile and intends to maintain a domicile, as defined in this chapter, in the town, city, or ward in which he or she desires to vote, or, if the applicant does not have reasonable documentation in his or her possession at the place and time of voter registration, [a sworn statement on the general election day voter registration form, or] an affidavit in the following form, which shall be retained in accordance with RSA 33-A:3-a:

9  Determining Qualifications of Applicant.  Amend the introductory paragraph of RSA 654:12, II(b) to read as follows:

(b)  Any one of the following is presumptive evidence of the identity of an applicant sufficient to satisfy the identity requirement for an official authorized by RSA 659:30 to take the oath of an applicant swearing to a qualified voter[,] or domicile[, or election day affidavit or a sworn statement on the general election day voter registration form]:

10  Determining Qualifications of Applicant.  Amend RSA 654:12, III to read as follows:

III.  To prove the qualifications set forth in paragraphs I and II, an applicant for registration as a voter must prove his or her identity to establish that the evidence used to prove age, citizenship, and domicile relate to the applicant.  A person who has in his or her immediate possession a photo identification approved for use by paragraph II must present that identification when applying for registration.  A person who does not have an approved photo identification with him or her may establish identity through completion of the qualified voter affidavit, which shall be retained in accordance with RSA 33-A:3-a[, or a sworn statement on the general election day voter registration form].  Residents of a nursing home or similar facility may prove their identity through verification of identity by the administrator of the facility or by his or her designee.  For the purposes of this section, the application of a person whose identity has been verified by an official of a nursing home or similar facility shall be treated in the same manner as the application of a person who proved his or her identity with a photo identification.

11  Determining Qualifications of Applicant.  Amend RSA 654:12, V(a) to read as follows:

V.(a)  The election official approving the application for registration as voter of a person who does not present an approved form of photo identification as proof of identity when registering, shall mark the voter registration form to indicate that no photo identification was presented and shall inform the person that, if he or she is a first-time election day registrant in New Hampshire, he or she will receive a letter of identity verification.  The person entering the voter information into the centralized voter registration database shall determine if the person is listed in the system as having been previously registered in the town or ward reported by the applicant on the voter registration form.  If the person is a new registrant who has not been previously registered anywhere in New Hampshire or if the centralized voter registration database does not confirm a previous registration claimed on the voter registration form, the election official shall cause the record created in the centralized voter registration database to indicate that the person is a new applicant in New Hampshire and that no photo identification was presented.  When municipalities enter information on people who register on election day into the centralized voter registration database, to the extent practical applicants who are registering for the first time in New Hampshire and who also register without presenting an approved photo identification shall be entered first.  The person entering the voter information of election day residents into the centralized voter registration database shall cause the records to indicate if the voter executed a domicile affidavit [or a sworn statement on the general election day voter registration form].

12  Determining Qualifications of Applicant.  Amend RSA 654:12, V(d) to read as follows:

(d)  Within 90 days of each election, the secretary of state shall cause a list of persons executing domicile affidavits [and sworn statements on the general election day voter registration form] since the prior election to be forwarded to the attorney general and the division of motor vehicles.  The secretary of state shall send a letter to each such person informing him or her of a driver's obligation to obtain a New Hampshire driver's license within 60 days of becoming a New Hampshire resident.  The letter shall be mailed within 60 days after the election, except that if the election is a state primary election, the letter shall be mailed 60 days after the general election, and if the election is a regularly scheduled municipal election, the letter shall be mailed by the July 1 or January 1 next following the election.  The secretary of state shall mark the envelope with instructions to the United States Post Office not to forward the letter and to provide address correction information.

13  Applicability.  Amend RSA 654:16 to read as follows:

654:16  Applicability.  Any [person] resident who has his or her domicile in any town or city in this state and is qualified to vote therein at the next subsequent election to be held in said town or city except for the fact that his or her name does not appear on the checklist to be used at the election, and who is temporarily absent therefrom or who by reason of physical disability is unable to attend a meeting of the supervisors of the checklist, may cause his or her name to be added to such checklist by applying to the city or town clerk or the secretary of state for a voter registration form provided for in RSA 654:7 and an appropriate absentee registration affidavit provided for in RSA 654:17.

14  Absentee Registration Affidavit.  Amend RSA 654:17, I to read as follows:

I.  The absentee registration affidavit shall be prepared by the secretary of state and shall be in substantially the following form:

Affidavit (Absence from town)

I, __________________ do hereby swear or affirm, under the penalties for voting fraud set forth below, the following:

1)  That I am a legal resident and my [legal] domicile is in the town of _______________, New Hampshire, I will be of the age of 18 years or over on election day and am entitled to vote in the election to be held in said town on _______________, _________ (date), except for the fact that my name does not appear on the checklist to be used in said town at such election;

2)  That I do not intend to be present within said town at such time prior to said election as shall enable me personally to appear before the supervisors of the checklist of said town in their regular sessions for the correction of the checklist for said election;

3)  That I am temporarily residing in __________ (city and state or city, province, and country);

4)  That I hereby enclose one of the following as proof of identity and domicile:

(a)  A copy of a current and valid New Hampshire driver's license or an armed services identification or other photo identification issued by the United States government that shows my name and address; or

(b) A  copy of a current and valid photo identification and a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, other government document that shows my name and address, or a letter from the administrator of a nursing home or similar facility affirming that I am a resident of that facility that was provided to me at my request pursuant to the administrator's duty to provide such a letter upon my request;

5)  That I acknowledge that if I do not provide a copy of proof of identity and domicile as required by section 4) above, this application may not be approved; and

6)  That I hereby make application for the addition of my name to the checklist of said town to be used at said election.

____________________

Signature of Applicant

____________________

Date

In accordance with RSA 659:34, the penalty for knowingly or purposefully providing false information when registering to vote or voting is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of imprisonment not to exceed one year and a fine not to exceed $2,000.  Fraudulently registering to vote or voting is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000.

Affidavit (Physical Disability)

I, _____________________ do hereby swear or affirm, under the penalties for voting fraud set forth below, the following:

1)  That I am a legal resident my [legal] domicile is in the town of ________________, New Hampshire, I will be of the age of 18 years or over on election day, and am entitled to vote in the election to be held in said town on ________________, ___ (date), except for the fact that my name does not appear on the checklist to be used in said town at such election;

2)  That I am unable by reason of physical disability personally to appear before the supervisors of the checklist of said town in their regular sessions for the correction of the checklist for said election;

3)  That I hereby enclose one of the following as proof of identity and domicile:

(a)  A copy of a current and valid New Hampshire driver's license or an armed services identification or other photo identification issued by the United States government that shows my name and address; or

(b)  A copy of a current and valid photo identification and a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, other government document that shows my name and address, or a letter from the administrator of a nursing home or similar facility affirming that I am a resident of that facility that was provided to me at my request pursuant to the administrator's duty to provide such a letter upon my request;

4)  That I acknowledge that if I do not provide a copy of proof of identity and domicile as required by section 3) above, this application may not be approved; and

5)  That I hereby make application for the addition of my name to the checklist of said town to be used at said election.

____________________

Signature of Applicant

____________________

Date

In accordance with RSA 659:34, the penalty for knowingly or purposefully providing false information when registering to vote or voting is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of imprisonment not to exceed one year and a fine not to exceed $2,000.  Fraudulently registering to vote or voting is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000.

15  Absentee Ballot Application.  Amend RSA 657:4, I to read as follows:

I.  Prior to any state election, the secretary of state shall prepare the appropriate application forms for absentee ballots worded in substantially the following form.  The secretary of state shall insert the names of all parties qualified as set forth in RSA 652:11 in the list of parties on the application form.  The secretary of state shall prepare the application forms in such quantity as he or she deems necessary:

Absence (Excluding Absence Due to Residence Outside the United States), Religious Observance, and Disability:

I hereby declare that (check one):

___ I am a duly qualified voter who is a resident and currently registered to vote in this town/ward.

___ I am absent from the town/city where I am domiciled and will be until after the next election, or I am unable to register in person due to a disability, and request that the forms necessary for absentee voter registration be sent to me with the absentee ballot.

I will be entitled to vote by absentee ballot because (check one):

___ I plan to be absent on the day of the election from the city, town, or unincorporated place where I am domiciled.

___ I am requesting a ballot for the presidential primary election and I may be absent on the day of the election from the city, town, or unincorporated place where I am domiciled, but the date of the election has not been announced.  I understand that I may only make such a request 14 days after the filing period for candidates has closed, and that if I will not be absent on the date of the election I am not eligible to vote by absentee ballot.

___ I cannot appear in public on election day because of observance of a religious commitment.

___ I am unable to vote in person due to a disability.

___ I cannot appear at any time during polling hours at my polling place because of an employment obligation.  For the purposes of this application, the term “employment” shall include the care of children and infirm adults, with or without compensation.

Any person who votes or attempts to vote using an absentee ballot who is not entitled to vote by absentee ballot shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.  RSA 657:24.

I am requesting an official absentee ballot for the following election (check one):

___ Presidential Primary to be held on __________

(MM/DD/YYYY)

(The date may appear as blank when the date is not known.)

___ State Primary to be held on __________

(MM/DD/YYYY)

___ General Election

For primary elections, I am a member of or I am now declaring my affiliation with the (check one):

___ Republican Party

___ Democratic Party

and am requesting a ballot for that party’s primary.

Please print:

Applicant’s Name:

__________________________________________________

(Last) (First) (Middle) (Sr., Jr., II., III)

Applicant’s Voting Domicile (home address):

__________________________________________________

(Street Number) (Street Name) (Apt/Unit) (City/Town) (Ward) (Zip Code)

Mail the ballot to me at this address (if different than the home address):

______________________________

(Street Number) (Street Name) (Apt/Unit) (City/Town) (Ward) (Zip Code)

Applicant’s Signature: __________

The applicant must sign this form to receive an absentee ballot.

Date Signed: __________

(MM/DD/YYYY)

16  Absentee Voting; Materials.  Amend RSA 657:7, II(a)-(b) to read as follows:

(a)  Absence from City or Town.  A person voting by absentee ballot because of absence from the city or town in which he or she is entitled to vote shall fill out and sign the following certificate:

I do hereby certify under the penalties for voting fraud set forth below that I am a [voter] legal resident qualified to vote in the city or town of _______________, New Hampshire, in ward __________; that I will be unable to appear at any time during polling hours at my polling place because I will be working on election day or will be otherwise absent on election day from said city or town and will be unable to vote in person; that I have carefully read (or had read to me because I am blind) the instructions forwarded to me with the ballot herein enclosed, and that I personally marked the ballot within and sealed it in this envelope (or had assistance in marking the ballot and sealing it in this envelope because I am blind).  For the purposes of this certification, the term “working” shall include the care of children and infirm adults, with or without compensation.

(Signature) ____________________  

In accordance with RSA 659:34, the penalty for knowingly or purposefully providing false information when registering to vote or voting is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of imprisonment not to exceed one year and a fine not to exceed $2,000.  Fraudulently registering to vote or voting is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000.

(b)  Absence Because of Religious Observance or Physical Disability.  A person voting by absentee ballot because of religious observance or physical disability shall fill out and sign the following certificate:

I do hereby certify under the penalties for voting fraud set forth below that I am a [voter] a legal resident qualified to vote in the city or town of ____________, New Hampshire, in ward ____________; that I will be observing a religious commitment which prevents me from voting in person or that on account of physical disability I am unable to vote in person; that I have carefully read (or had read to me because I am blind) the instructions forwarded to me with the ballot herein enclosed, and that I personally marked the ballot within and sealed it in this envelope (or had assistance in marking the ballot and sealing it in this envelope because I am blind).

(Signature) ____________________  

In accordance with RSA 659:34, the penalty for knowingly or purposefully providing false information when registering to vote or voting is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of imprisonment not to exceed one year and a fine not to exceed $2,000.  Fraudulently registering to vote or voting is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000.

17  Who Can Vote.  Amend RSA 659:12 to read as follows:

659:12  Who Can Vote.  All [persons] residents whose names are entered upon the corrected checklist brought by the town or ward clerk to the polling place shall be entitled to vote.  No person whose name is not upon the checklist shall be allowed to vote, unless, in the opinion of the supervisors of the checklist, it clearly appears that the name of a qualified voter has been omitted from the checklist by clerical error or mistake or that the person is a serviceman on leave who is qualified to vote and who by reason of such service was not in the town or city of his or her legal domicile at the time of the last session of the supervisors of the checklist.

18  Repeal.  RSA 654:7, IV(c), relative to voter registration form to be used at the polling place, is repealed.

19  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

Links

HB404 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Feb. 8, 2017 House Hearing
Feb. 22, 2017 House Exec Session
Oct. 19, 2017 House Exec Session
Jan. 3, 2018 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB404 Revision: 2524 Date: Jan. 27, 2017, 1:50 p.m.

Docket


Jan. 3, 2018: Inexpedient to Legislate: MA VV 01/03/2018 HJ 1 P. 33


Jan. 3, 2018: Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate for 01/03/2018 (Vote 20-0; CC)


Oct. 19, 2017: Executive Session: 10/19/2017 10:00 AM LOB 308


Oct. 10, 2017: Retained Bill Subcommittee Work Session: 10/10/2017 10:00 AM LOB 308


: Retained in Committee


Feb. 22, 2017: Executive Session: 02/22/2017 10:00 AM LOB 308


Feb. 8, 2017: Public Hearing: 02/08/2017 10:00 AM LOB 308


Jan. 5, 2017: Introduced 01/05/2017 and referred to Election Law HJ 3 P. 11