Letter: Reason for voting no

Published: 05-12-2023 9:49 AM

The bill SCR 1 aimed to preserve – and eventually add to the New Hampshire Constitution – the right of our state to hold the first primaries in the nation.

When it came up for a vote in the House, I voted against it. Not because our demographics don’t reflect the nation at large. Not because we’re relatively small and our politics are unique, so it’s hard to qualify as harbinger of the presidential election outcomes.

Not because we don’t deserve the high level of direct contact with the candidates that going first affords us. None of those things influenced my vote because I’m not against New Hampshire going first. I just think that if we are going to talk about voting, the topic should be how New Hampshire comes in last in access to voting.

We can’t vote early. Drop boxes are banned. Absentee ballots are available only to a limited group of voters. Identification is required to vote, and those who do not have an acceptable form of ID must sign an affidavit and have their photograph taken. Then they must mail in proof of ID and can be referred to the attorney general if they don’t.

People who register at the polls cast provisional ballots if they lack the correct form of ID and risk having their votes thrown out if the required proof isn’t received (by mail) in seven days. Despite these extensive challenges, Granite Staters turn out in impressive numbers, but that is more a reflection of voter fortitude than equitable access to voting.

My interest in going first will kick in when New Hampshire doesn’t finish last in its access to voting. 

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Molly Howard 

State Representative Hillsborough District 31, Hancock