, Derry, New Hampshire


August 30, 2012

Editorial: Rapid rollout of voter law creates confusion


“We’re fielding a lot of questions on a daily basis,” Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlon said. “They’re pretty evenly split between election officials and voters.”

The primary Sept. 11 is going to be something of a practice run — for local and state officials and voters.

No photo identification will be required at the polls for the September primary, but poll workers will be advising voters of what they will need to bring with them when they return to cast ballots in the general election in November. Acceptable photo IDs include: a driver’s license from any state; a passport or a valid student ID. Merely being recognized by a town clerk, moderator or supervisor of the checklist is sufficient.

Even in November, a voter who shows up to cast a ballot and doesn’t have an acceptable photo ID can still vote. But those individuals will be required to fill out a “challenged voter affidavit” before they get a ballot.

Within 60 days after the election, the Secretary of State’s Office will mail confirmation requests to voters who filed a challenged voter affidavit. The voter then has 90 days to confirm they did, indeed, vote in the general election. Anyone who doesn’t return the mailings should expect to hear from the Attorney General’s Office, which will be charged with following up to determine whether there was any voter fraud involved.

The Attorney General’s Office has one investigator assigned to election-related issues.

“We’re unable to anticipate how many investigations will need to be done. We won’t know how many will be coming in until after the November election,” Assistant Attorney General Matt Mavrogeorge told our reporter.

“I think they’re going to be pretty busy,” Scanlon said.

Voter ID passed the Legislature by strong, veto-proof majorities, so it is clear there is public sentiment in favor of the law. The Legislature might have done better to delay its enactment until 2013, to give local election officials more time to adapt to the change.

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