Secretary of state reports voter affidavit statistics
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The names of about 200 voters have been referred to the attorney general’s office for investigation after they either cast ballots or registered without providing photo identification in 2018, according to the latest report to the Legislature.
The secretary of state has been required since 2012 to compile a report after each election about the number of voters who registered or voted without presenting valid photo identification. The latest report includes data on municipal elections, the state primary and the state general election held in 2018.
That year, election officials recorded 983 individuals who did not present valid photo identification when voting and instead signed challenged voter affidavits. Fifteen of those names turned out to have been recorded in error, and among the rest, officials were able to verify the identities of all but 76 via mail or email, or based on further information from election officials.
Another 533 people signed qualified voter affidavits in order to register to vote without verifying their identities with approved photos. From that group, 137 names were forwarded to the attorney general’s office.
Revisions to state law in 2017 required the secretary of state’s office to conduct an inquiry before submitting the lists of names to the attorney general. In previous election years, the number of voters referred for investigation was significantly higher. After the 2014 elections, a total of 1,370 names were referred to the attorney general. For the 2016 elections, 1,292 names were referred.
The report comes as several recent election law changes are being challenged in court. A law requiring additional documentation from voters who register within 30 days of an election took effect in 2017, but a judge blocked penalties of up to $5,000 in fines and a year in jail while the lawsuit is pending.
Lawmakers passed legislation this year to reverse that law, but it was vetoed by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. He also vetoed a bill seeking to reverse another new law being challenged in court. That law, which took effect July 1, ended the state’s distinction between “domicile” and “residency” for voting purposes. That means out-of-state college students who vote in New Hampshire are now subject to residency requirements, such as getting New Hampshire driver’s licenses or registering their cars.