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Lawmakers weigh expanding SB 3 wrongful voting penalties



Monitor staff
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Members of the House Election Law committee are exploring expanding the definition of voter fraud under Senate Bill 3 to include people who give false information on their age and citizenship when registering to vote.

At a subcommittee session Tuesday, four members of the 20-member committee examined House Bill 651, which would make falsifying age, citizenship or domicile status count as wrongful voting, a civil violation carrying a penalty of up to $5,000.

HB 651 was retained for study last legislative session, while SB 3, which strengthened scrutiny over voter registration, was signed into law in June. The latter bill imposes similar penalties on those who falsely claim to be domiciled, but does not specifically include providing age or citizenship among the violations.

Committee chairwoman Barbara Griffin, R-Goffstown, and vice chairwoman Yvonne Dean-Bailey, R-Northwood, argued that the bill contained common-sense additions to prevent voter fraud. “I am inclined to believe that these are very serious crimes, so I would lean toward supporting this bill,” Dean-Bailey said.

Rep. Andrew White, D-Lebanon, countered that lying on a voting affidavit is already illegal under RSA 659:34 and that the bill is unnecessary.

The subcommittee ultimately voted against directly recommending HB 651, but Griffin said an amended version will likely be proposed in a full committee meeting Oct. 19.

(Ethan DeWitt can be reached at edewitt@cmonitor.com, or on Twitter at
@edewittNH.)