New Hampshire Supreme Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling to Strike Down Voter Suppression Legislation

·3 min read

Republicans across the country are doing their absolute best to limit voter access. Just Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court added to their previous gutting of the 1965 Voting Rights Act by upholding two of Arizona’s voter suppression laws that many believe disproportionately affects voters of color.

Fortunately, things are shaking out better in New Hampshire, where on Friday, the state Supreme Court struck down a 2017 state voting law that, like all Republican-backed voting laws, is needlessly restrictive and likely passed for the sole purpose of complicating the simple task of casting a ballot.

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NBC News reports that Senate Bill 3—a law that required people to fill out a form if they were registering to vote a month out from an election or on the day of—was ruled against in a unanimous 4-0 decision to uphold a lower court’s ruling that said the law “unreasonably burdens the right to vote.”

From NBC:

The ruling stems from a 2017 lawsuit brought by college students as well as the League of Women Voters and the state Democratic Party who argued that the law required new voters to fill out complicated forms.

Specifically, the law led to the creation of new forms that people registering to vote within 30 days of an election or on Election Day were required to fill out if they didn’t have proper documentation providing proof of residence. They would then need to bring in those documents within a certain period to election officials.

If the new voters, however, couldn’t comply with the law’s requirements, they would be subject to steep fines and potential criminal prosecution.

So, it was a bad law that the state’s highest court rightfully struck down. Of course, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu—the guy who recently lost more than half the members of his diversity and inclusion council after signing legislation that prohibits public school teachers from teaching about systemic racism—wasn’t too happy about the restrictive voting law getting the ax.

“It’s disappointing that these common sense reforms were not supported by our Supreme Court, but we have to respect their decision and I encourage the Legislature to take the court’s opinion into account and continue working to make common sense reforms to ensure the integrity of New Hampshire’s elections,” Sununu said, WMUR 9 reports.

You gotta love how Republicans keep characterizing these voting laws as “common sense” while being unable to cite a substantial reason for why these laws are even needed. Where’s the evidence that the “integrity” of the state’s elections even needs ensuring? “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is common sense; restrictive legislation that exists as a solution to a virtually non-existent problem is not.

Anyway, New Hampshire Democratic Party legal counsel William Christie, who was the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the 2017 lawsuit, celebrated the ruling while calling these laws what they are—attempts at voter suppression.

“Today is a great day for voting rights. A unanimous New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed that the Republican voter suppression law, SB 3, is unconstitutional,” Christie said, according to WMUR. “This is one of the strongest opinions in the country protecting the right to vote. We will continue to fight against any effort to suppress the right to vote in New Hampshire.”