We filed a lawsuit challenging HB 1264 in court. Here’s why:
Time and again, history has proven that our democracy is strongest when we have an engaged electorate. Active participation from voters is what ensures our elected officials truly represent their constituents and holds them accountable to their needs.
Here at the New Hampshire Democratic Party, we’ve long believed it is our responsibility to encourage folks to head to their polling locations on election days because we understand that every vote is valuable and every ballot cast matters.
Enshrined in our Party’s platform is this very philosophy: “We believe that voting is a right and responsibility and not a privilege.”
But our platform also goes on to say, “We believe in policies that broaden voter participation. We reject laws that unreasonably restrict the right to vote. Voter identification laws or other measures that are aimed at preventing students, the elderly, voters with disabilities, or minorities from exercising their constitutional right to vote are counter to our democratic principles.”
It is because of these very principles that today we filed a lawsuit challenging the voter restriction bill HB 1264.
HB 1264 will require every person who registers to vote in New Hampshire and who has a driver’s license or car to obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license and register their car in New Hampshire at significant expense. Under this new law, if a voter fails to obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license or register their car within 60 days of registering to vote, they will be subject to criminal penalties.
This legislation, which Governor Sununu signed into law just last spring, threatens New Hampshire’s electoral integrity. Our argument is threefold:
1. HB 1264 violates the First and Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibit severe burdens on the right to vote.
2. HB 1264 imposes restrictions that specifically target young New Hampshire voters, who historically vote Democratic, and who are guaranteed the right to vote under the Twenty-Sixth Amendment.
3. HB 1264 violates the Twenty-Fourth Amendment by establishing what is essentially a poll tax for those seeking to register to vote.
The New Hampshire Democratic Party is proud to defend the right of all eligible voters in New Hampshire to cast a ballot and we will continue to stand opposed to these partisan, unconstitutional, and politically-motivated efforts to limit the electorate.
This fight to preserve access to the ballot box has been a long one, but we are confident the constitution is on our side. We will not rest until all unreasonable barriers to voting are eliminated once and for all. — Ray Buckley, NHDP Chair