Making Democracy Work

Action & Testimony

How the LWVNH is now acting, or has formerly acted, on issues.

What is the League working on this year? How has the League testified on specific bills? What has the LWVNH accomplished in the recent past? Tips for effective citizen advocacy.

Election Law Court Hearing

April 24, 2015 LWVNH has advocated strongly since 2012 against onerous voter ID laws. One that is still in flux is the requirement to take photos of citizens who vote without photo IDs. Read this article, from the NH Municipal Association, that explains the bill and its latest tweak and asks, reluctantly, that legislators "hold their noses and vote for the amended bill" if they won't agree to eliminate the requirement entirely. Download the pdf

March 30, 2015The League of Women Voters NH, the NH Civil Liberties Union and the Fair Elections Legal Network have filed a brief with the NH Supreme Court in opposition to a bill, HB 112, which would require citizens who vote to register a motor vehicle and get a NH driver's license, even if they would otherwise not be required to under NH law. You may read more about the issue at this webpage:

Read the League's earlier posting on this bill

As amended, read the text of the bill

Ballot Law Commission

A Ballot Law Commission hearing was held March 23, 2015 in Dover at the request of two individuals who believe there is voter fraud and are seeking to have the town's rolls purges, requiring everyone to reregister. The League will present this testimony in opposition to this drastic action in the face of no proof of voter fraud. Update: after just a few minutes of deliberation, the Ballot Law Commission voted to deny the petition. Success.

March 28, 2015 update: This news article explains the investigation of some of the supposedly fraudulent voters...much ado about nothing. Read the article here

2015 Legislature Bills and League Testimony

SB179 would require a 30-day residency in a voting district or town to be able to register to vote. The League believes it violates the NH Constitution. Revised testimony will be given on April 7, 2015, to the House Election Law Committee. This bill as amended passed the NH Senate already.

SB179 would require a 30-day residency in a voting district or town to be able to register to vote. The League believes it violates the NH Constitution, would disenfranchise someone who happened to move from one town to another in October, just before an election. We offered testimony 3/18/15 in opposition.Update: this bill was amended so it does not disenfranchise someone who moves from one district to another within NH, 30 or fewer days before elections, if they were already registered. The bill if passed would not allow same day registration and voting for someone who moves to NH in that 30 days period.

SB 4 bill would strictly define "domicile" for voting purposes in a way that would disenfranchise some groups of voters. Read the testimony delivered March 10, 2015, by the League of Women Voters NH to Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee in opposition to this bill. Update: bill was re-referred to committee for further study, by Senate vote 3/26/15.

House Ways and Means bill establishing Keno gaming HB594 . League presented testimony opposing this bill Feb. 17, 2015.House Ways & Means voted to retain this bill 3/3/15. That means it can come up again next year.

Senate Ways & Means--Gambling Update 4/29/15 The House defeated this bill today with a surprisingly large margin 208 to 156. We are pleased. "SB113"http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/SB0113.pdf> League presented testimony in opposition to casino gambling Feb. 17, 2015. The League's testimony was referenced in this Union Leader article of Feb. 17 Senate passed this as amended March 12.

Constitutional Amendment Bill CACR 10 would put on the Nov. 2016 ballot the proposed NH constitutional amendment to make the term for Governor of NH a 4-year term. This is a position long held by LWVNH. League will give testimony at the Feb. 19, 2015 hearing.Voted Inexpedient to Legislate 3/11/15. It will not be on the ballot in November 2016

Election Law: Feb. 12, 2015 SB207 would eliminate the requirement that moderators take photos of voters who don't present acceptable photo ID on election day. This requirement is slated to go into effect later in 2015. 3/12/15 update: The senate voted to kill this bill today. The League opposes taking the photos and therefore supported the bill to eliminate the requirement, so we are disappointed. Read our testimony for the full explanation. A League board member who is also a town moderator also submitted this testimony.

Election Law: Feb. 5, 2015 HB 659-FN would allow the use of absentee ballots by those who don't currently fit the strict restrictions of religious, medical, or out of town excuse (such as the busy parent who works til 5, picks up the kids at soccer, has to cook dinner, and just can't get to the polls). League testimony supports this bill. Feb. 17 committee voted to retain this bill (for further study perhaps).

Election law: Feb. 5, 2015 HB 627 would eliminate election day (aka "same day") voter registration and enact provisions of the National Voter Registration Act. It would also create a provisional ballot, which is unconstitutional in NH. Read the League's testimony in opposition to this bill. March 4, House voted Inexpedient to Legislate.

Election law: Feb. 5, 2015 HB 620 would authorize the state to participate in an interstate database. The reality is that the program identified in the statute is flawed. League will submit written testimony urging a vote of Inexpedient to Legislate. March 4, House voted Inexpedient to Legislate.

Science,Technology & Energy Feb. 4, 2015 HB 208 was heard in committee Feb.4, 2015. The League testified in opposition to the bill which seeks to repeal the NH Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative program. We urged the committee to vote Inexpedient to Legislate. Feb. 13 update: This bill was amended to eliminate the part about repealing RGGI but kept the part that would return the money from greenhouse credits to ratepayers rather than the current situation, which returns money to municipalities to improve energy efficiency in public buildings.House voted to pass as amended Feb. 18, will go to Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee for a hearing.

Election Law: Feb. 2, 2015 League testimony was submitted regarding the amended HB 112. The League opposes this badly crafted wording that attempts to define "domicile" for voting purposes in a number of ways that appear to be unconstitutional or intended to disenfranchise various groups . The text of the amendment entirely replaced the simple original wording of the bill, which was heard on Jan. 28. Click here to read the amended wording. The House tabled this bill, has requested an opinion from state court justices.

Finance: Feb. 2, 2015 League testimony was submitted electronically in support of HB 634, a bill related to interest, dividends, and capital gains that would increase exemptions to low and middle income families but raise capital gains taxes on those who can most afford it. The League's testimony offers moral support for the bill based on our position to adequately fund the state's obligations and our criticism of regressive taxation. Update: This bill was retained in committee on Feb. 10 at their executive session.

Election Law: Jan. 20, 2015 League testimony was given in opposition to HB 127, which would allow ballot clerks to recognize voters without IDs. League opposition stems from the discriminatory recognition of some voters and not others, and from the use of ballot clerks, who are appointed by parties, not elected, and thus not accountable to the voters.House voted Inexpedient to Legislate on March 4.

Issues and Actions

Voter ID Legislation The League continues to monitor voter ID legislation. The League opposes bills requiring photo ID.

Voter ID requirements were passed in June 2012, revised in spring 2013. The League honors its commitment to voter service and education by publicizing the voter ID requirements (please visit our Elections page).

We were also co-plaintiffs in a lawsuit opposing the voter registration requirement to register a car in NH. That case was settled with a permanent injunction against the restrictive requirement in July 2014. Oral arguments on the appeal were heard April 22, 2015. In Feb. 2015 it came to the attention of the League and the American Civil Liberties Union of NH that the Secretary of State was sending a letter to voters who used an affidavit to prove domicile in the November election that seems to be in violation of the court order. See the ACLUNH press release on the matter

Expanded Gambling The League continues to oppose gambling expansion as a state revenue source. The coalition against expansion of gambling in NH is reorganized under the name Casino Free NH (see the website and facebook page: http://casinofreenh.org/ <https://www.facebook.com/CasinoFreeNH> The casino bill of 2015 was defeated in the House April 29, 2015. We are pleased.

Incarceration The League is tracking legislation related to our study of women incarcerated in NH. We attended bi-monthly meetings of the Interagency Council on Women Incarcerated in NH until that body was disbanded in late 2014. We also observe meetings of the committee recently established to study the availability of services in the community to offenders released on parole. A board member regularly attends meetings of the Interbranch Criminal and Juvenile Justice Council. League co-president Liz Tentarelli was appointed by Gov. Hassan to the Citizens Advisory Board of the NH Correctional Facility for Women on Feb. 5, 2015 (3 year term).

New Hampshire Prison Privatization The League opposed the large-scale privatization of prisons in NH for which bids were being evaluated (fall 2012). We attended coalition meetings opposed to privatization. We urged members to contact the Governor and their Executive Councilors to express opposition to privately run prisons. Happily, the privatization issue has been put to rest for now (spring 2013), and a new women's prison was approved in the capital budget. The League is keeping a close eye on plans for the new prison as they are developed. We attended the ground breaking on August 18, 2014. League board members are available to speak to groups in the community interested in learning more about incarceration, alternatives to incarceration, and privatization of prisons.

Alternative Sentencing Members of the League's study committee on incarceration testified in support of establishing more drug courts (alternative courts) in NH. That legislation passed (spring 2012) and we urge the counties to establish drug courts, which are both more successful than incarceration in solving addiction problems in the long run and save money over incarceration costs for drug offenses. We are also heartened by the increase in mental health courts in several NH counties.

Redistricting League board member Nancy Marashio is part of the LWVUS task force studying redistricting in preparation for the required redistricting following the 2020 census. LWVNH have testified in favor of having an appointed redistricting commission in NH (currently the legislature does this) and we advocate for greater openness in the redistricting process.

Trevor Potter talk May 2014

Campaign Legal Center President Trevor Potter spoke to a rapt audience in Concord on May 6, 2014, hosted by the Coalition for Open Democracy. COD is the coaltion to which LWVNH belongs that is working on campaign finance reform in NH, a timely subject given the ad money already pouring in for NH's US Senate seat.

Trevor Potter is a lawyer, former commissioner (1991+1995) and chairman (1994) of the United States Federal Election Commission. He is the founder, President, and General Counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit organization which works in the areas of campaign finance and elections, political communication and government ethics.[1] His government experience also includes service as assistant general counsel of the United States Federal Communications Commission (1984-1985) and attorney with the United States Department of Justice (1982-1984).

He is also notable for appearing on the television program The Colbert Report, where he discussed political action committees, and the founding and progress of Colbert Super PAC. Potter explained to Colbert's audience the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision made by the United States Supreme Court that allowed the creation of "Super PACs", and was the lawyer behind the creation and functioning of Stephen Colbert's PAC, "Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow". You can hear his talk via YouTube by clicking on this link: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZHasnxft6o&feature=youtu.be>

Coalitions

Much of our work is done in partnership with other groups. We are members of or work with the following coalitions or groups:

New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Learn more at: http://nodeathpenaltynh.org/

New Hampshire Prison Watch Learn more at: http://www.nhprisonwatch.org

Casino Free New Hampshire is the coalition against expanded gambling. Learn more at: http://casinofreenh.org/ Visit their Facebook page

Granite State Priorities (formerly The Granite State Fair Tax Coalition) P.O. Box 3431 Concord NH 03302 603-986-7696. Learn more at: http://gspriorities.org/ View this YouTube video of Mark Fernald's March 2014 talk on NH's tax structure. Fernald is a board member of GSP.

Open Democracy 4 Park St Concord NH 03301 No longer a formal coalition, we nevertheless continue to be represented at their meetings. Learn more at their website Also visit their Facebook page

NH Kids Count and NH Child Advocacy Network 2 Delta Drive, Concord NH 03301 Learn more at: http://www.childrennh.org/web/nhcan.html Visit their Facebook page

Housing Action NH Housing Action NH PO Box 162, Concord NH 03302 Learn more at: http://housingactionnh.org Visit their Facebook page