Democrats took aim at a Republican member of the Election Law Committee Monday following an exchange posted on Twitter regarding same-day voter registration. The controversial law is getting new scrutiny in the Republican-led legislature, with bills filed to strip the provision and require voters to register in advance.
“Can a person who has been in New Hampshire for 30 SECONDS, walk into a polling location on Election Day, present no evidence that they are who they say they are and no proof of where they live, be handed a ballot that then gets counted no matter what?” Representative Ross Berry (R-Manchester) posted on Twitter alongside a video of his discussion with Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan. The conversation took place during an Election Law Committee hearing Friday on a bill revoking same-day voter registration.
“Answer: YES,” said Berry.
New Hampshire Democrat Chairman Ray Buckley didn’t deny Berry’s claim but said it’s only possible after “signing a form swearing it is all true under punishment of law.” Buckley claimed on Twitter that “more often than not” the voter fraud perpetrators are Republicans, and told Berry to “stop the voter fraud lies.”
“While there is great debate as to the extent of voter fraud in New Hampshire, what is not up for debate is that the current system is wide open for abuse, providing no actual hurdles to those who do not actually live here but want to vote here, other than signing a couple of pieces of paper,” Berry told NHJournal.
“The average person may be startled to know that a random person who shows up to the polls on election day with no ID and no proof of living where they say they live is a likely to be a legal voter in New Hampshire provided they have not already voted elsewhere,” he added.
Scanlan confirmed Berry’s claim at the committee hearing. “New Hampshire does not have a duration requirement to be able to register to vote,” Scanlan said. “So you could move into New Hampshire and establish your domicile the day before or even the day of the election and be qualified to vote.”
“If a voter doesn’t have any of those (required) items, they can walk into a polling place and fill out affidavits that say under the penalties of voter fraud that they are who they said they are,” Scanlan added, later conceding that voters could claim a religious exemption and opt-out of the photograph requirement documenting who they are, as well.
Eliminating the same-day voter registration allowance comes with some side-effects, however, such as adopting so-called “motor voter” laws that allow voter registration through the Department of Safety during motor vehicle licensure.