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Governor's Veto Message Regarding SB 289


Location: Unknown

By the authority vested in me, pursuant to part II, Article 44 of the New Hampshire Constitution, on June 21, 2012, I vetoed SB 289, an act relative to presenting photo identification to vote in person.

The right to vote is a fundamental right that is guaranteed to all citizens of this State under the United States and New Hampshire Constitutions. Our election laws must be designed to encourage and facilitate voting by all eligible voters in New Hampshire.

SB 289 requires a voter to present valid photo identification or execute an affidavit in order to vote in person in a municipal, state and federal election beginning with the primary election this September. Under the final version of the bill, the acceptable forms of photo identification for this year's elections include a driver's license of any state, a non-driver's identification card, a U.S. armed services identification card, a U.S. passport, any other valid photo identification issued by federal, state, county or municipal government, a valid student identification, and any other photo identification determined to be legitimate by election officials. I was prepared to support this form of photo identification because the bill's provisions would ensure that every eligible voter who went to the polls on Election Day was able to cast a ballot that would be counted.

The legislature, however, adopted a more restrictive list of valid photo identifications that can be used in a municipal, state or federal election beginning September 1, 2013. After that date, photo identifications issued by state, county and municipal governments, valid student identifications, and other photo identification determined by election officials to be legitimate can no longer be used to obtain a ballot and vote on Election Day. SB 289 would put into place a photo identification system that is far more restrictive than necessary.

I am also vetoing SB 289 because the final version of the bill requires a voter who lacks the required photo identification for the upcoming primary and general elections, as well as future elections, to execute a qualified voter affidavit under RSA 654:12 in order to establish their identity to vote. Under New Hampshire law, a qualified voter affidavit is used only for those persons who are not already registered to vote and who are not able to produce "reasonable documentation" to establish their citizenship, which is a qualification for registering to vote. It is completely inappropriate for use by a registered voter on Election Day in order to establish the voter's identity to vote.

The use of this inappropriate affidavit will cause confusion, slow the voting process and may result in the inability of eligible voters to cast their vote.

For these reasons, I am vetoing SB 289.

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