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Amazon’s Alexa now offers N.H. election information

Monitor staff
Published: 12/19/2019 4:25:06 PM
Modified: 12/19/2019 4:24:56 PM

New Hampshire’s election office has made its guide to voting accessible through Amazon’s Alexa service and says other state government branches will be using the smart-speaker service, as well.

According to the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office, people who own an Alexa device or smartphone with the proper app can say “Alexa, enable State of New Hampshire Elections” and then use it to find out how to register to vote, where polling places are, and other election information.

The announcement comes the same week that the state sent information to local officials about who can vote, an issue that has become entangled in disputes over a new law tightening requirements that critics say targets college students.

The guidance, issued this week in the form of a Frequently Asked Questions sheet sent to clerks and other local election officials, says that anybody with an out-of-state driver’s license who registers to vote in New Hampshire must get a state drivers license within 60 days. If they have a car here, they must register it in New Hampshire within that same time period, the advisory said.

The ACLU of N.H. has sued, saying the new residency standards passed last year tie voting to motor vehicle fees and thus are the equivalent of an unconstitutional poll tax.

As for the Alexa app, the state said it would be used for other government services over time.

“The general subject area is now focused on N.H. elections. Moving forward, there will be various additional uses for this technology within other divisions of the N.H. Department of State, including the Corporation Division, Vital Records, and State Archives,” the office said.

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog granitegeek.org, as well as moderator of the monthly Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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