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.

LWVUS action alert November 2016

From League of Women Voters national president comes this call for members to take action now:

Right now, before he leaves office, President Obama has a unique opportunity to safeguard our climate, our children's health and our coasts by permanently protecting the outer continental shelf of the U.S. Arctic and Atlantic oceans from future oil and gas leasing.

Click here to tell President Obama to permanently protect the Arctic and Atlantic from offshore drilling.

Preserving and protecting the Arctic and Atlantic is an important step in fulfilling America's commitment to stopping climate change. Keeping the oil industry from expanding offshore drilling will continue to move America towards a clean energy economy and away from the fossil fuel business.

2016 NH Legislature Bills and League Testimony

The League will offer testimony on April 27 on an election law with a significant amendment to allow a trial of electronic poll books in 3 locations this fall. League supports this amendment as a way to expedite voting that is worth trying. Click here to read our testimony on HB1534, now in Senate committee Click here to read additional testimony on a very new amendment to the bill requiring both paper and electronic polls books be used for this trial, which seems to defeat the purpose.

The League will offer testimony on April 5 and 6 on the following election laws bills: SB509 that, among other things, makes the secretary of state responsible for criminal investigations. We oppose. Click to read our testimony

SB 4 requiring 30 days residence before registering to vote. We oppose. Click to read our testimony

HB 1482 that proposes adopting a voter crosscheck system that has been shown to have many flaws and as a result has voters unfairly eliminated from voting roles. We oppose. Click to read our testimony. ----

The League offered testimony March 30, 2016 on HB 1313, which has made its way to the Senate. HB1313 would, among other things, require a residency of 10 days before registering to vote, overturning our current "same day registration" status. Click here to read the League's testimony.

The League offered testimony March 1 on HB 1482. LWVNH urges the House Election Law Committee to support HB 1482 which creates a committee to conduct a study of our voter registration database including ways to improve the accuracy of the records, and we urge the committee to reject this proposed amendment because the database chosen has been shown to be faulty Click here to read the testimony.

The League offered testimony in January on HB1356, which is due out of election law committee on March 3. Click here to read the League's testimony in opposition to this bill that would, we believe, further confuse the legal definition of domicile for voting purposes.

The League also offered testimony in January in opposition to another election law bill, HB1313, that would, among other things, require a residency of 10 days before registering to vote, overturning our current "same day registration" status. The bill is due out of committee March 3. Click here to read the League's testimony.

The League offered written testimony for a Feb. 11, 2016, hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services committee, in support of SB333, a bill to establish drug court grants, improve access to drug treatment, and several other substance-abuse related items. Click here to read the League's testimony

The League offered testimony 1/27/16 opposing SB509, a bill that would change the voter registration forms in a non-helpful way. It would also require the Secretary of State to investigate when people failed to supply additional documents. The correct agency for investigations is the Attorney General's office, not the Secretary of State, and the investigation is a presumption of guilt. Click here to read the League's testimony.

The League testified 1/27/16 in favor of SB507, allowing online voter registration and online correction of address of already registered voters. Click here to read the League's testimony.

The League offered testimony 1/26/16 opposing HB 1642, requiring additional documents from people who register on the day of an election. Click here to read the testimony

The League offered testimony 1/26/16 on HB1511, requiring uniform polling hours to eliminate voter confusion. The League supports the principle behind this bill. Click here to read the testimony

The League offered testimony on 1/26/16 in opposition to HCACR 17, a proposed constitutional amendment that would simply confuse the issue of voting domicile. Click here to read the testimony

The League offered testimony on 1/26/16 in favor of SB464, establishing a grant program for drug courts throughout the state, in accordance with our position on alternatives to incarceration. Click here to read the testimony The bill passed in the Senate 2/4/16 with an amendment.

The League testified in both the House and the Senate in favor of bills creating a non-partisan redistricting commission. Read the testimony on SB425, given Jan. 14, 2016 Click here to read the testimony on HB1564, given Jan. 12 This bill was voted Inexpedient to Legislate by the full House on 2/20/16, killing the bill for this year.

The League testified in favor of SB 486 on Jan. 20, 2016. The League strongly believes that the Secretary of State's office has an obligation to make clear and simple voting information available to the public on its website. Read the League's testimony here

The League sent testimony to the Election Law committee on Jan. 13, 2016 regarding SB 346, encouraging uniform polling hours in NH towns and cities, for the benefit of voters. Click here to read the League's testimony The League also reiterated our testimony of last session regarding SB4, the domicile bill. "Amended text of SB4 can be found on page 5 of this Senate document"<http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/scaljourns/calendars/2016/sc%202.pdf>

The League will submit testimony to the House Criminal Justice committee on HB 1628, relative to human trafficking of minors, on Feb. 2, 2016. Click here to read the League's testimony.

Casino bill tabled Feb 2016

Election Law Court Hearing

May 15, 2015 The NH Supreme Court today issued its ruling about the voter registration form, supporting the earlier court's decision that ruled it is unconstitutional to have language in the voter reg form requiring registration of a car in NH if one claims NH as voting domicile. This makes the League very happy. The decision can be read here

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

2015 NH Legislature Bills and League Testimony

SB179 Breaking news July 10, 2015--Governor vetoed this bill. Thank you, Governor Hassan. Read her explanation here This bill would have required 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 was given on April 7, 2015, to the House Election Law Committee. This bill as amended passed the NH Senate already. Update June 3, 2015The bill passed the House today. See press release on our In the News page. Urge the governor to veto this bill!

We offered testimony 3/18/15 in opposition right from the start. After the above initial testimony on March 18, the 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. However the bill 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, meaning the photo requirement stands. 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. Update July 2015--the purchase of cameras has, so far, not been funded. It is the argument of many that a non-funded mandate does not have to be followed. We must wait to see, as work continues on a new version of the budget, whether funding is included for purchase of cameras and printers.

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 submitted 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> When the casino bill of 2015 was defeated in the House April 29, 2015, we were pleased. Another bill has arisen in the 2016 session, SB551, which would allow one casino at Rockingham Park in Salem. League continues to doubt the figures presented as potential state revenue, given that Massachusetts' plans for a casino less than an hour away are going forward. SB551 was recommended Ought to Pass by the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 9, 2016, but was tabled by the entire Senate Feb. 18. If it is revived later in the session and if passed there then must pass in the House (where other casino bills have died). League opposes this bill.

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 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 a member of the LWVUS task force studying redistricting in preparation for the required redistricting following the 2020 census. LWVNH board members 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.

See national organization on redistricting below.

For a light-hearted satiric look at the issue of gerrymandering, watch this "Youtube video:<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zMqxdNUDOo&feature=youtu.be&noredirect=1>

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

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>

Abolition of Death Penalty

League members and friends who oppose the death penalty are encouraged to call or email their state senators before March 3. Ask them to vote YES on SB 463 which would suspend the NH death penalty.

LWVNH is a member of the NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. The June 8, 2015 issue of Time magazine includes an op ed piece by NH Rep. Renny Cushing, who has been a vocal opponent of the death penalty since it first affected his family 32 years ago. Read his piece and also visit the NH Coalition's website for additional current information: http://nodeathpenaltynh.org/

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 Their summit of Sept. 21, 2015 to kick off the legislative season produced the following summary of issues discussed. Click here to read the pdf

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

Redistricting commissions

july 2015: National push for independent redistricting commissions. LWVNH studied this issue about 13 years ago, has a position supporting independent redistricting commissions July 28, 2015 Former East Bay [California] Rep. Ellen Tauscher announced Tuesday that she's bringing on a former colleague from the other side of the aisle to co-chair her effort to export California's citizen-redistricting model to the rest of the nation.

Tauscher, a Democrat formerly of Alamo who represented part of the East Bay from 1997 to 2009, said former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., will co-chair You Draw the Lines 2021, an organization she formed to take reapportionment power away from state legislatures and give it to independent commissions. She launched the effort in the wake of last month's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the constitutionality of Arizona's independent redistricting commission -- and by extension, California's as well.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Tauscher said she's thrilled to share the group's leadership with Davis. "Independent nonpartisan redistricting commissions, like the one we have in California, create the opportunity for more competitive districts and for more moderates of both parties to get elected to Congress," she said.

Davis said the effort is "critical to getting Congress working again."

"Creating independent nonpartisan citizen advisory commissions in even five or six states before the 2020 census could make all the difference to the make-up of Congress in the next decade," Davis said. "Ellen and I will be reaching out to our former colleagues and like-minded state elected officials of both parties in these key states to put the wheels in motion to get this done over the next five years."

The project will focus on passing ballot initiatives in key states over the next three election cycles to approve the formation of independent, nonpartisan citizen redistricting commissions based on California's model, which was passed in 2008.