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Thursday, March 16, 2017
Citizens must remain engaged

To the editor:

In Concord, as many as 40 bills addressing state election laws were filed at the State House making this a prominent issue even before President Donald Trump made the unsubstantiated claim that thousands of people were bused into the state from Massachusetts and voted illegally.

Several related House bills have been recently put on hold while state Senator Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead) and others worked to produce an amendment to state Senate Bill 3 that has been described as an all-encompassing plan to limit voter participation.

SB 3 without amendments already requires a shorter turnaround requirement than under current law to present definitive proof of residency in the state for those who register to vote within 30 days of an election, or on Election Day.  A follow-up provision in the bill would allow police on routine patrol to visit a home to seek proof of residency from the voter.  These restrictions and distractions are unwarranted and many are unconstitutional. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Zuckerman said his office received no complaints of voter fraud in the most recent election. Zuckerman has served as the district elections officer in New Hampshire for the last 10 years.  Tom Rath, a prominent New Hampshire Republican, tweeted "let me as be unequivocal as possible-allegations of voter fraud in NH are baseless, without any merit-it's shameful to spread these fantasies."

The expansion of voting rights is associated with some of the proudest moments in American history. The Suffragette and Civil Rights Movements resulted in the participation of disenfranchised community members nationwide.  As a result we all benefitted from a greater exchange of ideas. NH citizens must remain engaged and participate in defending voting rights, a bedrock of democracy, as SB 3 moves forward. 

John Friede

Peterborough