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NAACP New England Area Conference Disappointed by Passage of NH Voter Suppression Law

The New England Area Conference of the NAACP released the following statement regarding the New Hampshire legislature’s decision to override the Governor’s veto of SB 289, New Hampshire’s restrictive voter ID bill:

“It is a travesty that a few of our elected officials have overstepped the governor to pursue restrictive measures that negatively impact the voting rights of the same people who put them into office,” said Juan Cofield, President of the NAACP New England Area Conference. “While Governor Lynch chose to protect the interests and voting rights of all New Hampshire residents, the legislature chose to suppress them.  This is another example of elected officials placing politics over people.”

After initial support for a New Hampshire state legislature photo identification bill, Governor John Lynch vetoed SB 289 on June 21. According to a released statement the Governor opposed the legislation due to the adoption of photo identification laws that were “far more restrictive than necessary.”

The bill will prohibit the use of state, county and municipal governments, valid student identification, and other photo identification in municipal, state, and federal elections. Students, government workers, and remaining residents without valid photo identification will have to submit a challenged voter affidavit attesting to their identity—reducing the chance that ballots cast by individuals without valid identification would be counted at the polls.

The legislation will affect the ability of thousands of citizens to vote, including 91,300 government workers and over 31,000 college students.

According to state Attorney General reports, there were no instances of voter fraud in New Hampshire in 2008 and 2010.

Last December, the NAACP released the report “Defending Democracy” which detailed the various attacks on voting rights, including Florida’s change to third party, non partisan voter registration procedures.  The full report can be viewed at http://www.naacp.org/pages/defending-democracy.