CONCORD, NH – Governor Chris Sununu signed House Bill 1264 today, in defiance of his previous statements in opposition to the bill. The ACLU-NH has challenged this bill since its inception because it would make it more difficult for some individuals—particularly college students—to vote by imposing onerous motor vehicle fees as a condition of voting. Moreover, the legislative history of HB 1264 makes clear that such voter suppression is the legislative intent of the bill.
ACLU-NH Legal Director, Gilles Bissonnette, had this reaction: “Today, the Governor reversed his prior position concerning HB 1264 and sided with this bill’s proponents who are transparently attempting to make voting more difficult for certain citizens, particularly college students. The Governor’s deeply unfortunate reversal from his previous public position will only embolden future efforts to make voting more difficult in New Hampshire. As we previously stated, there is nothing standing in the way of this law being successfully challenged in court with the benefit of a full record developed in litigation.”
Devon Chaffee, ACLU-NH Executive Director, had this reaction: “We are disappointed in the Governor’s decision to sign this bill and endorse the voter suppression he rightfully criticized just a few months ago. The legislative history of this bill leaves zero doubt that the sole intent is to deter voting, particularly by college students who have a constitutional right to vote in the state in which they go to school. As a state that takes pride in being the First in the Nation, we should be striving to remove barriers to voting, not creating new ones that silence Granite Staters.”
The Governor’s reversal today means the public is needed now more than ever. We must make it crystal clear to our elected representatives that we expect them to uphold democracy and fight for the people, not pass polarizing legislation that picks and chooses amongst voters. We urge Granite Staters to speak up and ensure they are not silenced.