Letter: Colleges, stand up for your students

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Over the course of the past few months, a debate has raged here in New Hampshire over Republican plans to either disenfranchise students who are domiciled here or deter them from voting by imposing an unconstitutional poll tax. Many voices have been heard back and forth, and now the issue has been sent by the governor to our Supreme Court for an advisory opinion, which they may or may not agree to issue. The voice I have not heard, yet, is the voice of our local college community and their associated graduate schools. This letter is my inquiry sent to their governing bodies.

Your student body is made up of people from in state and around the country who seek to further their educations here in the Granite State. Under current law, all of those students who are otherwise qualified are constitutionally entitled to vote in New Hampshire, by reason of their being domiciled here. (“Domiciled” for these purposes means in the place one calls “home,” the place one lays one’s head.) The GOP doesn’t like this existing voting franchise, because they believe younger voters don’t agree with Republican policies, and don’t vote for the GOP.

The question for the administration at Dartmouth, and Keene and Plymouth and UNH, is this: Will you really stand silent while the Republican Party disenfranchises your students, those young men and women who currently can vote under the terms of our constitution? If your answer is yes, then my response to you is this: for shame.



(The writer is a former House Democratic leader, state senator and member of the DNC.)