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New Hampshire Democrats Claim Voter Suppression for College Students – Want Laws Changed


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New Hampshire Democrats are looking for help in overturning a law they claim suppresses college student voting rights.

2020 Democratic presidential candidates are being pressured to campaign against the 2018 law, which goes into effect in July. The law requires college students from other states to meet residency requirements of having state issued identification, such as a driver’s license, in order to vote.

Democratic activists argue this is a move by the GOP to weaken Democratic voters in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

“People often don’t think of New Hampshire as a place where voter suppression is occurring, but it is very real,” Muscatel said, equating the need to prove residency and identity at voter polls as suppression.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen sent a letter urging them to sign “a petition publicly denouncing this voter suppression law.” So far, 16 of the 2020 presidential contenders have agreed.

GOP state Sen. Regina Birdsell said she is “disappointed that Jeanne Shaheen is using her time to push the false narrative that voter suppression is taking place in New Hampshire.” She defended the legislation as “an attempt to make our elections cleaner and fairer.”

Efforts to strike the law appear to be in advance of the 2020 presidential election in order to increase Democratic voter turnout. College students traditionally vote a Democratic ticket at a greater percentage than older citizens.

During a rally in Exeter in March, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts noted her support for a constitutional amendment to “protect the right to vote for every American citizen and make sure their votes get counted.”

She pledged to “roll back every damn one of these voter suppression laws.” Warren’s chances at the Democratic presidential bid are seen as slim, but her message is being heard.

Other Democratic proposals include allowing incarcerated felons the right to vote. Bernie Sanders said in a campaign rally he supported the right to vote for prisoners, including the Boston Marathon Bomber, Dzhokhar Anzorovich Tsarnaev.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York echoed many of those ideas during a recent visit to Concord.

“We need to take on these legislatures across the country that are trying to undermine people’s rights to vote,” she said. “I hope we can have a national campaign about how to strengthen voting rights in this country and really push back.”

 

Sarah Morton

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