Saturday November 3, 2012

CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire officials on Friday reminded voters that there will be some changes when they head to the polls next week, namely a new voter identification law.

"The main message we want to send to New Hampshire citizens is to get out and vote on Election Day, Nov. 6," said Attorney General Michael Delaney, who was joined by Secretary of State William Gardner and others at a news conference.

Under the new law, registered voters will be asked to show photo identification before obtaining a ballot. Acceptable identification includes driver’s licenses from any state, non-driver photo ID cards, voter ID cards issued by the state, passports, valid student IDs or other photo IDs deemed legitimate by election officials. Certain election officials also can verify a voter’s identity without an ID card.

Those who do not have photo identification with them or choose not to show IDs can still vote after filling out affidavits attesting to their identities.

"No person who is a registered voter in this state will be sent home without voting on Election Day," Gardner said. "Every person will vote the same way, on a ballot that will be counted like any other ballot. The only difference is that some voters may have to sign an affidavit that simply says they are who they say they are."

In addition to the voter identification law, the Legislature also changed the state’s voter registration forms this year.


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But a controversial section of the form was put on hold after a court challenge by out-of-state college students, who traditionally have been allowed to vote in the state without holding legal residency.

Had it taken effect, new voters would have been required to sign a statement saying they declare New Hampshire their home and are subject to laws that apply to all residents, including laws requiring drivers to register cars and get a New Hampshire driver’s license. The statement wouldn’t specifically require students to be residents but would have made them subject to hundreds of laws involving residency.

The secretary of state’s office has been working with town and city clerks to ensure their procedures and polling place signs provide accurate information to voters. Delaney said his office is sending 30 lawyers and investigators to polling places to handle any problems that crop up. That’s more than have been dispatched in any previous election, he said.

"With 30 people in the field and a team here answering hotlines, we feel confident that we have a good system in place to try to address as quickly as possible issues as they arise," he said.