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Letter: The future of voter ID

Dan Williams, an outgoing member of the Monitor Board of Contributors, has frequently given me some things to think about.

His swan song “Memo to Hassan, Legislature” (Monitor Forum, Nov. 19) is the closing case-in-point. And with respect to the voter ID law, I agree with Williams and disagree with the Monitor, which says we should do away with it.

Voter ID was installed by the recent Republican majority not to combat fraud, which does not exist. Its motivation was aimed to disfranchise voters most likely to vote Democratic. Outgoing House Speaker Bill O’Brien was even quoted as believing that college students tend to be idealistic and vote liberal. Consequently, let’s keep those liberals from the polls by not even allowing a student photo ID. (In the most recent election student IDs were acceptable, but their validity in the future is murky if the requirements tighten.)

As Williams points out, IDs are required to buy beer. If it helps to enhance confidence in our election system by voters showing a photo ID (and also reducing errors as ballot clerks check in voters), let’s do so. But let’s make it ridiculously easy for every voter to have the necessary identification. Rather than state law specifying what IDs are acceptable (and students vulnerable in the future as majorities come and go in the Legislature), assign the task of determining what is acceptable to the local election moderator. Moderators are residents of the municipalities where the elections are held and are most likely to know what’s good, and what is not, in their community.

BOB LONGABAUGH

Alton Bay

Legacy Comments11

Less than 1% of voters had no ID at the polls. I guess that getting an ID is not that difficult after all.

This is a flawed law to begin with. We have never, I repeat never had problems with voter registration in New Hampshire. A group of small minded individuals pushed this half baked idea into law. It's time that this mess got repealed and on to the business of New Hampshire's residents. The tea-publicans were a flash in the pan as they did not consider the people. They considered their own ideology and not what was good for all. This new legislature will have their hands full repealing all these half baked laws that the former legislature enacted. A thankless job indeed...

This is settled law. The new legislature is supposed to be focused on "jobs and the economy". High voter turnout in the last election proved this is a good law. Get over it.

I always felt uncomfortable voting in NH and not showing an ID. I am for trust, but let's not be stupid. The other interesting fact that I read recently was that 99,000 voters registered in NH on election day. Most of these "new" registrations were in the college towns and most likely by students. First, I am uncomfortable with students voting in NH who are not year round residents. We are not allowing them to have In-State tuition rates, but we allow them to vote? Their votes probably decided the election seeing Romney lost NH by less than 40,000 votes. Does that seem right? Are these voters speaking for NH? Also, I would like to know who is checking to see if they voted in NH, if they voted in their home states. Two votes by the same person is voter fraud.....

Seems to you need to try slowing down and putting your emotions aside when reading any news articles. The AP article that you are referring to that was in the Nov 19th Concord Monitor made only a minor reference to student voting in Dartmouth (an increase to 1477) and Durham (an increase to 3026), not something that would have made any difference in the presidential vote. If you actually came out to vote on election night you would have noticed that the longest line at your polling place was for unregistered voters, like in my ward in Nashua (which doesn't contain one single college town) in which the unregistered line went outside the door of my polling place at 6:30pm. In addition, you have no business telling someone who lives in New Hampshire at least 9 months of the year that they don't have the right to vote because you disagree with their politics. Because I doubt very much whether you are telling some retired snowbird who only live, at the most 6 months a year in New Hampshire that they should not be voting in "your" state.

Frankly, we should think twice about following the advise of any op-ed writer whose credentials are questionable. For instance, how is Mr. Williams, who claims to be a "educator" and whose background we have no idea about, an expert on election laws or civil rights? Because, despite what "educator" and op-ed writer Mr. Williams fails to realize, there is no similarity between buying a bottle of booze and casting a vote on election day. Also, we should think twice about heeding the advise of those, like Mr. Longabaugh, who wrongly think we should balkanize our election process by having some local election official determine what sort of ID is acceptable to allow a person to vote. Because, unlike what Mr. Longabaugh fails to realize, that throughout the course of American history there have been numerous instances in which local officials routinely denied certain segments of our population the right to vote, because of their skin color, ethnicity, political affiliation or other unwarranted factor. So, despite what some may believe there is no need to put in place any law that addresses a non-issue (voter fraud) and whose only intent was to discourage certain segments of our state population the right to exercise his or her right to vote.

I am not a fan of Mr. Wiiliams and I also disgree with him vehemently on most issues but, MikeNH, the idea of an oped or any opinion piece is just an expression of a citizen who has a right, through freedom of speech and the press to allow an alternative view. "Experts" are NOT absent of opinion, devoid of political opinions and certainly "esperts" can have an agenda To think that only the "experts" should have an opinion or be taken seriously is exactly why we are in this fiscal and social mess that we are in. As to your point about voter fraud, there is voter fraud out there although maybe not much in NH, it is prevalent throughout the rest of the country. I will defend Mr. Wiiliams no matter how much I do not agree with his opinions, politics or viewpoints and by the way, he IS an educator. I thought that the Monitor removed posts besmearching others? Especially those writing letters to the editor?

No one is disputing that Mr. Williams has a right to his opinion. The issue is that when a newspaper chooses a local person to opine in their op-ed pages that the newspaper should clearly state what that person's background is. Saying that someone is an "educator" is not only meaningless, but misleading to the reader. For instance, the Nashua Telegraph uses several local individuals in their op-ed pages, but unlike what The Monitor has done in the case of Mr. Williams, The Telegraph clearly states where these people work and live, so as to give the readers a sense that the op-ed writer's background may give us something more than specious opinion that one could get at any local pub or online forum like this. Because, despite what you may believe, no reputable newspaper should waste their limited space on op-ed pieces where the writer's major argument for having a photo ID to vote is based on a non sequitur, such as Mr. Williams' contention that if we need a photo ID to buy a bottle of booze, then we should need a photo ID to vote. The other point you made about voter fraud, once again you seem to be at it again by making statements that you cannot back up with any credible facts. In New Hampshire, for instance, other than a single individual from Project Veritas, there has not been any recent instance of voter fraud in New Hampshire, period. So your concern about voter fraud in our state is a concern about a problem that does not exist. Unless you think, as what happened during our recent election, that we should suppress the vote from those whom you disagree with. Which, in the end, I believe is the real reason for your continuing angst on the issue of so-called voter fraud.

As to the case for "no voter fraud"--How can we forget the left's ACORN organization with its national program of voter fraud? "Those who ignore history........................................"

This is an discussion concerning New Hampshire. Despite what you may believe or been told by right-wing blogs and Faux News, ACORN has never had a presence in New Hampshire, period. And the most likely reason for happen to be that New Hampshire is 95% white with negligible amounts of minority citizens.

Maybe you haven't seen the Project Veritas video of local polling place judges in NH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bbbXXkRG74

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