CONCORD, N.H. – The ACLU of New Hampshire and national ACLU filed a motion last night seeking a preliminary order preventing the enforcement of HB 1264, an unconstitutional voting law that makes it confusing, burdensome, and expensive for students and young people to vote in New Hampshire. With the 2020 presidential primary just a few months away and due to widespread confusion caused by HB 1264, the motion seeks a temporary order barring the state from using voter registration or voting history as evidence in any prosecution for failing to obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license or vehicle registration. The motion asksthat this order run at least through the 2020 presidential primary.
“It is clear that college students, young people, and even town clerks are confused about what this law means,” said Gilles Bissonnette, legal director at the ACLU of New Hampshire. “With the first-in-the-nation primary coming up in February, we must ensure that people know their rights and obligations when it comes to casting a New Hampshire ballot, so we’re asking the court to issue a temporary order that would eliminate this confusion for the upcoming election.”
Originally filed in February 2019, the lawsuit was brought on behalf of two Dartmouth College students who may be required to pay for New Hampshire driver’s licenses and car registrations because they have voted in New Hampshire. The law is unconstitutional because it and its implementation have caused voter confusion, which can create a “chilling” effect and deter people from voting who otherwise would. This law also burdens the right to vote and acts as a “poll tax” by potentially requiring new voters to shift their home state driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations to New Hampshire — which can add up to hundreds of dollars — solely for exercising their right to vote.
“There is an enormous amount of confusion about this law that will undoubtedly impact the voters affected by it,” said Henry Klementowicz, staff attorney at the ACLU of New Hampshire. “A temporary block on enforcing the law through the presidential primary would ensure that those who are eligible to vote can do so without concern or confusion.”
The court documents can be found here: https://www.aclu-nh.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/72.15_mol_iso_motion_for_pi.pdf.
More information about the case can be found here: https://www.aclu-nh.org/en/cases/casey-et-al-v-state-new-hampshire.