HB531 (2021) Detail

Relative to determining the qualifications of voters and establishing provisional voter registration and provisional ballots.


HB 531-FN-LOCAL - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2021 SESSION

21-0537

11/06

 

HOUSE BILL 531-FN-LOCAL

 

AN ACT relative to determining the qualifications of voters and establishing provisional voter registration and provisional ballots.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Lynn, Rock. 7; Rep. Abramson, Rock. 37

 

COMMITTEE: Election Law

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill eliminates the qualified voter affidavit and establishes provisional registration and voting procedures.

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

21-0537

11/06

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One

 

AN ACT relative to determining the qualifications of voters and establishing provisional voter registration and provisional ballots.

 

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

 

1  Voters and Checklists; Temporary Absence or Presence.  Amend the introductory paragraph of RSA 654:2, II(d) and RSA 654:2, II(d)(1) to read as follows:

(d) For the purposes of voter registration under RSA 654:7, [IV(c)] III(c), an applicant shall demonstrate an intent to make a place his or her domicile by providing documentation showing that the applicant has a domicile at the address provided on the voter registration form. Such documentation may include, but is not limited to:

(1) Evidence of [residency] having established domicile, as set forth in RSA 654:1, I-a, at an institution of learning in that place;

2  Voters and Checklists; Temporary Absence or Presence.  Amend RSA 654:2, III to read as follows:

III. An individual applying for registration as a voter 30 or fewer days before an election shall use the election day registration form required by RSA 654:7, [IV(c)] III(c) which shall require the applicant to provide the date he or she established his or her voting domicile in New Hampshire. The registration form shall require the voter to identify and provide evidence of a verifiable action he or she has taken carrying out his or her intent to make the place claimed on the voter registration form his or her domicile.

3  Voter Registration; Voter Registration Form.  Amend RSA 654:7 to read as follows:

654:7 Voter Registration; Voter Registration Form.  

I. Any person registering to vote shall be:

(a) At least 18 years of age on the day of the next election; and

(b) A United States citizen; and

(c) Domiciled in the town or city in which the applicant is registering to vote and not otherwise disqualified to vote.

II. The applicant shall be required to produce appropriate proof of qualifications as provided in RSA 654:12 and fill out the form as prescribed in paragraph [IV] III.

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 within 30 days before an election or at the polling place on election day. If an applicant is registering at the polling place on election day 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.

IV.](a) Standard registration application forms shall be used throughout the state. The registration forms shall be no larger than 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches.

(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 used within 30 days of an election or at the polling place on election day, 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

I am not currently registered to vote elsewhere (initial here __________), or I request that my name be removed as a registered voter in ______________________________ (fill in your address where previously registered, street, city/town, state, and zip code)

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 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 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 purposely 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.

(c) The secretary of state shall prescribe the form of the voter registration form to be used only for voter registrations, transfers, or updates starting 30 days before each election and at the polling place on election day, 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 registration form is submitted _______________

Date applicant moved to the address listed below as the voter's domicile __________

VOTER REGISTRATION FORM

FOR USE STARTING 30 DAYS BEFORE AN ELECTION AND AT THE POLLING PLACE ON ELECTION DAY

(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

I am not currently registered to vote elsewhere (initial here __________), or I request that my name be removed as a registered voter in ______________________________ (fill in your address where previously registered, street, city/town, state, and zip code)

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 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 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 understand that to make the address I have entered above my domicile for voting I must have an intent to make this the one place from which I participate in democratic self-government and must have acted to carry out that intent.

[I understand that if I have documentary evidence of my intent to be domiciled at this address when registering to vote, I must either present it at the time of registration or I must place my initials next to the following paragraph and mail a copy or present the document at the town or city clerk's office within 10 days following the election (30 days in towns where the clerk's office is open fewer than 20 hours weekly).

_____ By placing my initials next to this paragraph, I am acknowledging that I have not presented evidence of actions carrying out my intent to be domiciled at this address, that I understand that I must mail or personally present to the clerk's office evidence of actions carrying out my intent within 10 days following the election (or 30 days in towns where the clerk's office is open fewer than 20 hours weekly), and that I have received the document produced by the secretary of state that describes the items that may be used as evidence of a verifiable action that establishes domicile.

Failing to report and provide evidence of a verifiable action will prompt official mail to be sent to your domicile address by the secretary of state to verify the validity of your claim to a voting domicile at this address.

I understand that if I do not have any documentary evidence of my intent to be domiciled at this address, I must place my initials next to the following paragraph:

_____ By placing my initials next to this paragraph, I am acknowledging that I am aware of no documentary evidence of actions carrying out my intent to be domiciled at this address, that I will not be mailing or delivering evidence to the clerk's office, and that I understand that officials will be sending mail to the address on this form or taking other actions to verify my domicile at this address.]

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

[If this form is used in place of proof of identity, age, or citizenship, I hereby swear that such information is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge.

This form was executed for purposes of proving (applicant shall circle yes or no and initial each item):

Identity yes/no _____

(initials)

Citizenship yes/no _____

(initials)

Age yes/no _____

(initials)

 _________________________ _______________________________

Applicant Election Official

 _________________________

Notary Public/Justice of the Peace/Official Authorized by RSA 659:30]

In accordance with RSA 659:34, the penalty for knowingly or purposely 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. In accordance with RSA 659:34-a voting in more than one state in the same election is a class B felony with a maximum sentence of imprisonment not to exceed 7 years and a fine not to exceed $4,000.

[V. The secretary of state shall prepare and distribute an addendum to the voter registration form used under subparagraph IV(c) to be distributed to those registrants who register within 30 days before the election or on election day and who do not provide proof of domicile or a verifiable action to demonstrate domicile. The "verifiable action of domicile" document shall provide notice of the requirements that registrants must furnish documentary evidence of domicile and shall be in substantially the following form:

Verifiable Action of Domicile

As a newly registered voter, you have received this document because you did not provide proof of domicile when you registered to vote. RSA 654:2, IV requires you to provide evidence that you have taken a verifiable act to establish domicile.

The following checklist shall be used as a guide for what you may use as evidence and shall be submitted to the town or city clerk along with documentation that you are required to provide. Only one item on the list is required to demonstrate a verifiable act.

To establish that you have engaged in a verifiable act establishing domicile, provide evidence that you have done at least one of the following:

___ established residency, as set forth in RSA 654:1, I-a, at an institution of learning at the address on the voter registration form

___ rented or leased an abode, for a period of more than 30 days, to include time directly prior to an election day at the address listed on the voter registration form

___ purchased an abode at the address listed on the voter registration form

___ obtained a New Hampshire resident motor vehicle registration, driver's license, or identification card issued under RSA 260:21, RSA 260:21-a, or RSA 260:21-b listing the address on the voter registration form

___ enrolled a dependent minor child in a publicly funded elementary or secondary school which serves the town or ward of the address where the registrant resides, as listed on the voter registration form

Identified the address on the voter registration form as your physical residence address on:

___ state or federal tax forms

___ other government-issued forms or identification. Describe form of identification: _______________

___ provided the address on the voter registration form to the United States Post Office as your permanent address, provided it is not a postal service or commercial post office box, where mail is delivered to your home. This can be by listing the address on the voter registration form as your new address on a Postal Service permanent change of address form and providing a copy of the receipt, or an online emailed receipt

___ obtained public utility services (electricity, cable, gas, water, etc.) for an indefinite period at the address on the voter registration form. List services obtained: _________________________

___ arranged for a homeless shelter or similar service provider to receive United States mail on your behalf. Enter name of the shelter or provider: _________________________

___ describe what other verifiable action or actions you have taken to make the address listed on your voter registration form your one voting domicile: _________________________

If you have no other proof of a verifiable act establishing domicile, and your domicile is at an abode rented, leased, or purchased by another and your name is not listed on the rental agreement, lease, or deed, you are required to provide a written statement, signed under penalty of voting fraud if false information is provided, from a person who is listed on such document, or other reasonable proof of ownership or control of the property, attesting that you reside at that address, signed by that person or his or her agent who manages the property.

This verifiable action of domicile form, along with your written statement or other documentation proving a verifiable act, shall be delivered to the town or city clerk, by mail or in person, with 10 days, or within 30 days if the clerk's office is open fewer than 20 hours weekly.

Name ________________________________________________________________

Last (suffix) First Full Middle Name

Domicile Address ______________________________________________________

Street Ward Number

  ______________________________________________________________________

Town or City Zip Code

  __________________ __________________________________________

Date Signature of Applicant

This document was received by the clerk, who examined and returned it to the applicant after making a copy of the evidence of verifiable action, said copy to be attached to the verifiable action of domicile form.

  _________________ ________________________________________________

Date Signature of Clerk

The clerk shall forward the completed form and attachment or attachments to the supervisors of the checklist as soon as possible, but not later than their next meeting. The supervisors of the checklist shall attach the form and attachments to the voter registration form.]

4  Registering at the Polling Place; Election Day Registration.  Amend RSA 654:7-a, I-II to read as follows:

I. The provisions of this section and those of RSA 654:7-b shall be used as an additional procedure for voter registration. For the purposes of this section and RSA 654:7-b, the term "election day" shall refer to state primary and to state general elections, to all town, city, school district, and village district elections, and to all official ballot meetings where persons may vote by absentee ballot. A person who registers to vote on election day according to the provisions of this section shall also be required to complete the voter registration form provided for in RSA 654:7, [IV(c)] III(c). The provisions of this section and those of RSA 654:7-b shall apply notwithstanding any provision of RSA 654 to the contrary.

II. Any person whose name is not on the checklist but who is otherwise a qualified voter shall be entitled to vote by requesting to be registered to vote at the polling place on election day. The voter may then vote at that election by casting either a regular or a provisional ballot as provided in RSA 654:12. The applicant shall be required to produce appropriate proof of qualifications as provided in RSA 654:12.

5  General Voter Registration; Determining Qualifications of Applicant.  Amend RSA 654:12 to read as follows:

654:12 Determining Qualifications of Applicant.  

I. When determining the qualifications of an applicant, the supervisors of the checklist, or the town or city clerk, shall require the applicant to present proof of citizenship, age, and domicile, as provided in the following categories:

(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 voter registration form used starting 30 days before an election and on election day,] 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:

Date: ____________________

QUALIFIED VOTER AFFIDAVIT (Identity, Citizenship, Age)

Name: ______________________________

Name at birth if different: ______________________________

Place of birth: ______________________________

Date of birth: ____________________

Date and Place of Naturalization: ______________________________

Domicile Address: ________________________________________

Mailing Address (if different): ________________________________________

Telephone number (requested but optional) ____________________

Email address (requested but optional) ____________________

I hereby swear and affirm, under the penalties for voting fraud set forth below, that I am not in possession of some or all of the documents necessary to prove my identity, citizenship, and age and that I am the identical person whom I represent myself to be, that I am a duly qualified voter of this town (or ward), that I am a United States citizen, that I am at least 18 years of age as of this date or will be at the next election, and that to the best of my knowledge and belief the information above is true and correct.

 ______________________________________

(Signature of applicant)

In accordance with RSA 659:34, the penalty for knowingly or purposely 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.

On the date shown above, before me, ____________________ (print name of notary public, justice of the peace, election officer), appeared ____________________ (print name of person whose signature is being notarized), (known to me or satisfactorily proven (circle one)) to be the person whose name appears above, and he or she subscribed his or her name to the foregoing affidavit and swore that the facts contained in this affidavit are true to the best of his or her knowledge and belief.

This affidavit was executed for purposes of proving (check all that apply):

[ ] Identity

[ ] Citizenship

[ ] Age

________________________________________

Notary Public/Justice of the Peace/Official Authorized by RSA 659:30]

(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 voter registration form used starting 30 days before an election and on election day].

(c) DOMICILE.

(1) Registering more than 30 days in advance of an election.

(A) A person who possesses one of the following qualified documents identifying the applicant's name and the address claimed as domicile must present that document when applying for registration prior to election day: (i) New Hampshire driver's license or identification card issued under RSA 260:21, RSA 260:21-a, or RSA 260:21-b; (ii) New Hampshire resident vehicle registration; (iii) a picture identification issued by the United States government that contains [a current] the domiciliary address claimed; (iv) government issued check, benefit statement, or tax document that contains the domiciliary address claimed. A person who possesses such a document, but failed to bring it with the person when seeking to register to vote shall be required to return when he or she can present one of these documents or to bring the document and register on election day.

(B) A person who attests under penalty of voter fraud that he or she does not possess any of the qualified documents listed in subparagraph (A) may present any reasonable documentation of having established a physical presence at the place claimed as domicile, having an intent to make that place his or her domicile, and having taken a verifiable act to carry out that intent. The documentation must establish that it is more likely than not that the applicant has a domicile and intends to maintain that domicile, as defined in this chapter, at least until election day in the town or ward in which he or she desires to vote. Reasonable documentation may include, but is not limited to evidence of:

(i) [Residency, as set forth in RSA 654:1, I-a, at an institution of learning at that place] Having established domicile at the location of an institution of learning the applicant attends, as set forth in RSA 654:1, I-a;

(ii) Renting or leasing an abode at that place for a period of more than 30 days, to include time directly prior to an election day;

(iii) Purchasing an abode at that place;

(iv) Enrolling the applicant's dependent minor child in a publicly funded elementary or secondary school which serves the town or ward of that place, using the address where the registrant resides;

(v) Listing that place as the person's physical residence address on state or federal tax forms, other government identification showing the address, or other government forms showing the address;

(vi) Providing the address of that place to the United States Post Office as the person's permanent address, provided it is not a postal service or commercial post office box;

(vii) Obtaining public utility services for an indefinite period at that place; or

(viii) Arranging for a homeless shelter or similar service provider located in the town or ward to receive United States mail on behalf of the individual.

An applicant whose domicile is at an abode of another and whose name is not listed on the document offered as proof of domicile may provide a written statement from a person who is listed as owner, property manager, or tenant on the document that the applicant resides at that address, signed by that person under penalty of voting fraud if false information is provided.

(2) Registering within 30 days before an election and on election day.

(A) When registering within 30 days before an election or on election day as provided in RSA 654:7-a, if the applicant does not have in his or her possession [at the polls] at the time the applicant seeks to register one of the qualified documents listed in subparagraph (1) or other reasonable documentation which establishes that it is more likely than not that the applicant has a domicile at the address claimed in the town or ward in which he or she desires to vote, [he or she may execute a sworn statement on the voter registration form used starting 30 days before an election and on election day and initial the acknowledgment of domicile evidence obligation. If the applicant identifies on his or her application action taken to establish his or her domicile, which he or she has documentation of, he or she must agree to mail a copy of or present the document in person to the city or town clerk within 10 days, or where the town clerk's office is open fewer than 20 hours weekly, within 30 days. Copies of documents provided in compliance with this subparagraph are exempt from the public disclosure required by RSA 91-A. The clerk shall document receipt of a copy or completion of verification of a document presented in person and forward verification to the supervisors of the checklist. An applicant whose voter registration is approved based on an acknowledgment of a domicile evidence obligation who knowingly or purposely fails to provide a document to the city or town clerk as required by this paragraph shall be subject to the penalties of wrongful voting as established in RSA 659:34. The supervisors of the checklist shall initiate removing the name from the checklist of any such person who fails to provide proof of domicile by the deadline by sending the person the notice required by RSA 654:44] the applicant shall be provisionally registered to vote and shall be permitted to cast a provisional ballot in that election, as provided in (B) below.

[(B) A person registering within 30 days before an election or on election day who does not possess reasonable documentation of establishing domicile and has taken no verifiable action to carry out his or her intent to establish domicile at the address claimed on the voter registration application may nonetheless register to vote by initialing the paragraph on the registration form acknowledging that domicile may be verified. The supervisors of the checklist shall, as soon as practical following an election at which the person initials such paragraph to register and vote, attempt to verify that the person was domiciled at the address claimed on election day by means including, but not limited to:

(i) Examining public records held by the town or city clerk, municipal assessing and planning offices, tax collector, or other municipal office that may house public records containing domicile confirmation; or

(ii) Requesting 2 or more municipal officers or their agents or state election officers or their agents to visit the address and verify that the individual was domiciled there on election day. In unincorporated places that have not organized for the purposes of conducting elections, county officers may be asked to perform this function; or

(iii) Referring the registrant's information to the secretary of state, who shall cause such further investigation as is warranted.

(C) Any case where supervisors are unable to verify the applicant's domicile or where evidence exists of voting fraud shall be promptly reported to the secretary of state and to the attorney general, who shall cause such further investigation as is warranted.]

(B)(i)  A person seeking to register to vote within 30 days of an election or on election day who does not provide documentation which reasonably establishes that the person is domiciled in the town or ward in which the person seeks to vote shall be permitted to register to vote and to vote in that election, provided, however, that the registration shall be provisional and the person shall cast a provisional ballot.  The checklist entry for such a person shall be clearly marked PROVISIONAL REGISTRATION and, unless converted to a regular registration as provided below, shall expire at the conclusion of the election held within 30 days of, or on the day of, the registration.  The ballot given to such person shall be conspicuously marked PROVISIONAL BALLOT and shall be printed in a color that is clearly different from the color of regular ballots so that such ballots may be easily distinguished from regular ballots.  The person shall be permitted to cast his or her provisional ballot in secret, whereupon the person shall immediately seal the ballot in an envelope to be provided by the moderator or other election official at the polling place.  The person shall sign and print the person's name and address on the outside of the envelope and furnish the envelope to the election official.  It shall be the responsibility of the moderator to maintain all such provisional ballots safely and securely under the moderator's custody and control and to keep them separate from all regular ballots cast at the election.

(ii)  After the polls close on election day, the moderator shall count all provisional ballot envelopes collected on election day and shall inform the person in charge of the counting of regular ballots of the total number of provisional ballots cast.

(iii)  Not later than 5 days after the day of the election, the person casting a provisional ballot shall submit to the moderator such documentation as is described in subparagraph (c)(1) as reasonably establishes the person's domicile in the town or ward where the person voted on the date of the election.  If the person provides such documentation, the envelope containing such person's provisional ballot shall be opened and that person's provisional ballot shall be counted as if it was a regular ballot and added to the total vote for the candidates for whom the person voted, and the checklist marking of PROVISIONAL REGISTRATION shall be removed such that the person shall thereafter be treated for all purposes as a duly registered voter.  If the person does not provide such documentation as reasonably establishes such person's domicile in the town or ward where the person voted on the date of the election, the envelope containing such person's provisional ballot shall not be opened and such person's provisional ballot shall not be counted and added to the regular ballots cast in the election.

(iv)  Any person aggrieved by the decision of the moderator to count or not count a provisional ballot as if it was a regular ballot may challenge said decision by filing a complaint with the superior court within 3 days of the moderator's decision.  The superior court shall cause a copy of the complaint to be immediately served upon the moderator, the supervisors of the checklist, and any other interested persons, shall promptly hear the matter, and shall order that the provisional ballot be counted or not counted as justice requires.  The superior court's findings of fact shall be final unless clearly erroneous.

II.  The supervisors may refuse to add the name of an applicant to the checklist if he or she fails to present the evidence [or an affidavit] as required by this section.  Without limiting the acceptance of other forms of proof of domicile or identity deemed reasonable by the supervisors:

(a)  Any one of the following documents is presumptive evidence that the individual seeking to vote meets the domicile requirement, provided the document is currently valid, was issued to or in the name of the applicant, and shows the address the applicant claims as a domicile:

(1)  New Hampshire driver's license.

(2)  New Hampshire vehicle registration.

(3)  Armed services identification, or other photo identification issued by the United States government.

(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, domicile, or election day affidavit or a sworn statement on the voter registration form used starting 30 days before an election and on election day]:

(1)  Photo driver's license issued by any state or the federal government.

(2)  United States passport, armed services identification, or other photo identification issued by the United States government.

(3)  Photo identification issued by local or state government.

(c)  The presumptions established in this paragraph may be defeated by evidence establishing that it is more likely than not that the applicant is not qualified as a voter.

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 voter registration form used starting 30 days before an election and on election day] in any other manner that reasonably establishes that it is more likely than not that the person is who he or she claims to be.  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.

IV.  Any person who is applying for registration as a voter and who is currently registered to vote in a different town or ward in New Hampshire shall complete the voter registration form provided for in RSA 654:7.  If the election official receiving the application confirms through the centralized voter registration database required by RSA 654:45 that the applicant is currently registered to vote in New Hampshire, the applicant shall prove identity and domicile, but shall not be required to prove his or her age or citizenship.

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 sworn statement on the voter registration form used starting 30 days before an election and on election day.]

(b)  The secretary of state shall cause a letter of identity verification to be mailed by first class mail to each voter identified at any election as a first-time election day registrant in New Hampshire who also did not verify his or her identity with an approved photo identification.  The letter shall be mailed by January 10 in every odd-numbered year in the case of persons registering at a state primary or general election, or within 90 days after any other 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.  The letter shall notify the person that a person who was unable to present photo identification registered or registered and voted using his or her name and address and instruct the person to return the letter within 45 days with a written confirmation that the person registered and voted or to contact the attorney general immediately if he or she did not register and vote.  Any voter under a protective order pursuant to RSA 173-B, and whose name does not appear on the checklist as provided under RSA 654:25, shall not be subject to the provisions of paragraph V.

(c)  The secretary of state shall conduct an inquiry regarding any letters mailed pursuant to subparagraph (b) that are returned as undeliverable by the United States Post Office and those persons who were mailed letters under subparagraph (b) and have not confirmed their registration.  The inquiry may include consulting with, and examining public records held by[,] municipal officials, which contain information relevant to a person's qualifications to vote in New Hampshire, and interviewing persons living at the address listed on the voter registration form.  After such inquiry, the secretary of state shall prepare and forward to the attorney general for investigation a list of those people whose identity or eligibility to vote could not be confirmed.  Upon receipt of notice from a person who receives a letter of identity verification that the person did not register and vote, or upon receipt of a referral from the secretary of state, the attorney general shall cause an investigation to be made to determine whether fraudulent registration or voting occurred.

(d)  [Within 90 days of each election, the secretary of state shall cause a list of persons executing sworn statements on the voter registration form used starting 30 days before an election and on election day 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.

(e)  The secretary of state shall conduct an inquiry regarding any letters mailed pursuant to subparagraph (d) that are returned as undeliverable by the United States Post Office.  The inquiry may include consulting with, and examining public records held by, municipal officials, which contain information relevant to a person's qualifications to vote in New Hampshire, and interviewing persons living at the address listed on the letters.  After such inquiry, the secretary of state shall prepare and forward to the attorney general for investigation a list of those people whose eligibility to vote could not be confirmed.  The attorney general shall cause an investigation to be made to determine whether fraudulent registration or voting occurred.

(f)]  Upon completion of any investigation authorized under RSA 654:12, the secretary of state and the attorney general shall forward a report summarizing the results of the inquiry and investigation, respectively, to the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, and the chairpersons of the appropriate house and senate standing committees with jurisdiction over election law.

6  Election Day Morning Procedures; Statutes Posted.  Amend RSA 658:29 to read as follows:

658:29  Statutes Posted.  The secretary of state shall prepare and distribute copies of the following RSA sections which the selectmen shall post or cause to be posted outside the guardrail in the polling place at all elections: RSA 654:7-a, RSA 654:7-b; RSA 659:13, RSA 659:13-b, RSA 659:27, RSA 659:30, [RSA 659:31,] RSA 659:32, RSA 659:34, RSA 659:35, RSA 659:37, RSA 659:38, RSA 659:40, RSA 659:41, RSA 659:103; RSA 666:4, RSA 666:5, RSA 666:8.  In addition, the secretary of state shall include any other statutes or regulations that are required to be posted by state or federal law.  The secretary of state may also include statutes or regulations that, in the secretary of state's judgment, would aid a voter in casting a vote or in contacting the appropriate official if the voter believes that his or her voting rights are being violated.

7  Challenge of Voter.  Amend RSA 659:27, II-III to read as follows:

II.  Upon receipt of a written challenge, the moderator shall determine if the challenge to the ballot is well grounded.  If the moderator determines that it is more likely than not that the challenge is well grounded, the moderator shall not receive the vote of the person so challenged [until the person signs and gives to the moderator an affidavit in the following form: I, ____________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) under penalties of voter fraud, that I am the identical person whom I represent myself to be, that I am a duly qualified voter of this town (or ward), and have a legal domicile therein.  My telephone number (requested but optional) is _______________, and my email address (requested but optional) is _______________].  If the moderator determines that the challenge is not well grounded, the moderator shall permit the [voter to proceed] challenged person to vote.

[III.  No voter or appointed challenger shall challenge a person's qualifications to be a voter at the election day voter registration table.]

8  Election Procedure; Asserting a Challenge.  Amend RSA 659:27-a, I to read as follows:

I.  No challenge may be asserted except in the form of a signed affidavit, under oath administered by an election official, in the following form:

INFORMATION ON THE PERSON MAKING THE CHALLENGE

Name of Person Making the Challenge:

_______________________________________________________________________

Last Name First Name Middle Name/Initial

_______________________________________________________________________

Party affiliation

________________________________________________________________________

If person making a challenge is a voter: Physical Address-Street Name & Number

________________________________________________________________________

If person is a political party or attorney general appointee: mailing address & phone number

________________________________________________________________________

The challenger's qualifications to assert the challenge

INFORMATION ON THE VOTER BEING CHALLENGED: The person making the challenge shall complete the following:

Name being used by the voter who you wish to challenge:

_______________________________________________________________________

Last Name First Name Middle Name

GROUNDS FOR THE CHALLENGE: The person making the challenge shall indicate the ground on which the challenge is made (check all grounds that apply).

___ The person seeking to vote is not the individual whose name he or she has given

___ The person seeking to vote has already voted in the election at (name polling place) ____________ at approximately (state time if known) __________

___ The person seeking to vote is disqualified as a voter by conviction of a willful violation of the elections laws (state offense, court, and date of conviction)

___ The person seeking to vote is under 18 years of age

___ The person seeking to vote is not a United States Citizen

___ The person seeking to vote is not domiciled in the town or ward where he or she is seeking to vote (state person's true domicile-town/city)

___ The person seeking to vote does not reside at the address listed for that person on the checklist

___ The person seeking to vote is an incarcerated convicted felon who is currently sentenced to incarceration (state name of institution person is in)

___ This is a primary and the person seeking to vote in the (state political party name) __________ primary is not a declared member of the party he or she claims to be affiliated with

___ The person seeking to vote is ineligible to vote pursuant to the following state or federal statute or constitutional provision:

BASIS FOR THE CHALLENGE: The person making the challenge shall state the specific source of the information or personal knowledge upon which the challenge of the particular individual is based:

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

OATH: The person making the challenge shall complete the following:

I hereby swear and affirm, under the penalties of perjury, that to the best of my knowledge and belief the information above is true and correct.

____________________

(Signature of challenger)

On the date shown above, before me, __________ (print name of notary public, justice of the peace, election officer), appeared __________ (print name of person whose signature is being notarized), known to me or satisfactorily proven (circle one) to be the person whose name appears above, and he or she subscribed his or her name to the foregoing affidavit and swore that the facts contained in this affidavit are true to the best of his or her knowledge and belief.

____________________

Notary Public/Justice of the Peace/Official Authorized by RSA 659:30

TO BE COMPLETED BY THE MODERATOR: Ruling on the challenge:

If the ground at issue is age, citizenship, or domicile: The supervisors of the checklist have ruled that the challenged voter is: qualified as a voter; not qualified as a voter.

The moderator rules on challenges based on other grounds.  The moderator rules that the challenge is: well grounded; not well grounded.  [If it is ruled that the voter is not qualified or that the challenge is well grounded, the challenged person may vote only if he or she completes and swears to a challenged voter affidavit.]

9  Preservation of Ballots and Other Election Materials.  Amend RSA 659:101 to read as follows:

659:101  Preservation of Absentee Voting Materials and Election Day Affidavits.  The absentee ballot affidavits and application forms processed by the moderator as provided in RSA 659:50, the absentee ballots challenged and rejected as provided in RSA 659:51 and RSA 659:53, [and the qualified voter affidavits as provided in RSA 654:12] and any other documentary proof of qualifications retained by the town or city clerk, the supervisors of the checklist, or other election official shall be preserved in accordance with RSA 33-A:3-a.  [Qualified voter and Voter registration affidavits shall be retained for the period set forth in RSA 33-A:3-a, and] Other materials may be destroyed after the election is settled and all appeals have expired or one year after the election, whichever is longer.

10  Repeal.  RSA 659:31, relative to receiving a challenged vote, is repealed.

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

 

LBA

21-0537

1/11/21

 

HB 531-FN-LOCAL- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT relative to determining the qualifications of voters and establishing provisional voter registration and provisional ballots.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [ X ] County               [    ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

FY 2024

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [    ] Other

 

 

 

 

 

COUNTY:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill establishes a provisional voter registration and voting process.  It eliminates the use of the qualified voter affidavit forwarded to the Department of Justice by the Secretary of State for investigation when an individual's qualifications cannot be confirmed.  

 

The Department of Justice works with the Secretary of State's office to provide training and guidance to election officials.  Eliminating the voter affidavit and associated investigation while introducing new provisional registration and voting procedures will require revision of guidance materials and additional training for election officials.  The resulting overall impact on the workload of the department is unknown and therefore the fiscal impact is indeterminable.

 

The Department of State indicates it is unsure if the provisions of this bill would require additional compliance with the National Voter Registration Act ("Motor Voter") and incur additional significant costs associated with this legislation.

 

The New Hampshire Municipal Association states there will be minimal change to the work of election officials and no resulting significant effect on municipal expenditures as a result of this bill.  There should be no effect on municipal revenues.

 

This bill contains penalties that may have an impact on the New Hampshire judicial and correctional systems.  There is no method to determine how many charges would be brought as a result of the changes contained in this bill to determine the fiscal impact on expenditures.  However, the entities impacted have provided the potential costs associated with these penalties below.

 

 

Judicial Branch

FY 2021

FY 2022

Class B Misdemeanor

$55

$55

Class A Misdemeanor

$78

$78

Simple Criminal Case

$309

$309

Routine Criminal Felony Case

$494

$494

Appeals

Varies

Varies

It should be noted that average case cost estimates for FY 2021 and FY 2022 are based on data that is more than ten years old and does not reflect changes to the courts over that same period of time or the impact these changes may have on processing the various case types.  An unspecified misdemeanor can be either class A or class B, with the presumption being a class B misdemeanor.

Judicial Council

 

 

Public Defender Program

Has contract with State to provide services.

Has contract with State to provide services.

Contract Attorney – Felony

$825/Case

$825/Case

Contract Attorney – Misdemeanor

$300/Case

$300/Case

Assigned Counsel – Felony

$60/Hour up to $4,100

$60/Hour up to $4,100

Assigned Counsel – Misdemeanor

$60/Hour up to $1,400

$60/Hour up to $1,400

It should be noted that a person needs to be found indigent and have the potential of being incarcerated to be eligible for indigent defense services. The majority of indigent cases (approximately 85%) are handled by the public defender program, with the remaining cases going to contract attorneys (14%) or assigned counsel (1%).

Department of Corrections

 

 

FY 2020 Average Cost of Incarcerating an Individual

$47,691

$47,691

FY 2020 Annual Marginal Cost of a General Population Inmate

$6,407

$6,407

FY 2020 Average Cost of Supervising an Individual on Parole/Probation

$584

$584

NH Association of Counties

 

 

County Prosecution Costs

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Estimated Average Daily Cost of Incarcerating an Individual

$105 to $120

$105 to $120

 

Many offenses are prosecuted by local and county prosecutors.  When the Department of Justice has investigative and prosecutorial responsibility or is involved in an appeal, the Department would likely absorb the cost within its existing budget.  If the Department needs to prosecute significantly more cases or handle more appeals, then costs may increase by an indeterminable amount.  

 

It is assumed this bill will be effective July 1, 2021.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Departments of State, Justice and Corrections, Judicial Council, New Hampshire Association of Counties and New Hampshire Municipal Association

 

Links

HB531 at GenCourtMobile
HB531 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
March 8, 2021 House Hearing

Bill Text Revisions

HB531 Revision: 31854 Date: Jan. 12, 2021, 12:36 p.m.

Docket


March 8, 2021: Public Hearing: 03/08/2021 10:30 am Please click the link below to join the webinar: https://zoom.us/j/91394352757


Jan. 6, 2021: Introduced (in recess of) 01/06/2021 and referred to Election Law HJ 2 P. 52