The Democrats are blindly thinking that everyone and anyone should vote. It sets a bad precedent.
— State House Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry), in support of stringent voter ID requirements
Former state House Speaker Bill O’Brien accuses Democrats of resorting to a “rhetoric of racism” in their opposition to voter ID legislation. “They said well, if we can’t victimize blacks by taking their rights away, let’s manipulate them.”
The Democrats constantly turn to the rhetoric of racism when it comes to photo id. It’s obviously absurd in New Hampshire to bring that out. This rhetoric of racism works so well for the Democrats nationally even though they are traditionally the party of segregation. They’re the party of slavery. They’re the party of segregation and starting in 1964 when we passed the civil rights law they became the party of racial manipulation….
They’ve misused the racial issue and it’s been very, very bad in our history, both before the Civil War and in the Jim Crow period. The majority of votes for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were Republican votes. Martin Luther King was a Republican.
What they’ve done now, is turn to the reality and they said well if we can’t victimize blacks by taking their rights away, let’s manipulate them. Over time, our hope is as part of the maturation of the political process in this country that blacks will begin to realize that they’re being victimized by the Democratic Party.
O’Brien’s self-serving analysis of the nation’s racial politics attempts to rewrite history. O’Brien claims “the majority of votes for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were Republican votes.” In fact, both Houses of Congress passed the landmark legislation with Democratic majorities. The U.S. House of Representative’s version passed with 152 Democratic and 138 Republican votes. In the U.S. Senate, 27 Republicans joined 46 Democrats to pass the civil rights law.
O’Brien’s claim that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican is equally bogus. King maintained a policy of not publicly endorsing a party or candidate, but the evidence is overwhelming that he was not a Republican. Historian Michael K. Honey called the assertion “laughable” and questioned the motives of politicians who make the claim. “Do they now make things up out of whole cloth or do they fabricate based on assumptions with no actual knowledge. In either case, not very good qualifications for office.”
O’Brien made his comments during an interview with Republican state House Rep. John Burt. The full interview is available online.
No person who is a registered voter in this state will be sent home without voting on Election Day. Every person will vote the same way, on a ballot that will be counted like any other ballot. The only difference is that some voters may have to sign an affidavit that simply says they are who they say they are.
— Bill Gardner, New Hampshire Secretary of State, explaining the state’s new voter ID law
An editorial in today’s Concord Monitor urges legal action to bar implementation of New Hampshire’s voter ID requirement and calls on the next legislature to repeal the “onerous new law.”
The voter ID laws enacted by legislatures in New Hampshire and at least nine other states have nothing to do with fraud and everything to do with a Republican campaign to suppress the vote and steal elections. …
Photo identification laws unfairly discriminate against voters who are young, poor, elderly or members of a minority. … They also tend to vote Democratic. Disenfranchising them is the whole point of tough voter identification laws.
The contention that voter fraud compromises the integrity of elections is fraudulent. After the last three elections, New Hampshire’s attorney general’s office investigated every instance in which a first-time voter without an ID cast a ballot after signing an affidavit attesting to his or her identity. Not one person wasn’t who they claimed to be.
There are a couple of interesting news items today regarding the state’s new voter ID law.
Gary Rayno reminds us that before the law takes effect, it must be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice for compliance under the Voting Rights Act. (The background on how New Hampshire came to be the only Northern state required to obtain Justice Department “pre-clearance” for election law changes is, in itself, an interesting story.)
Rayno writes that it is unlikely the Justice Department will grant unqualified approval.
Nobody believes the DOJ will simply approve the new law. The department has already found several state photo identification laws in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
It has blocked similar laws in Texas and South Carolina. South Carolina is suing over the ruling. [added link]
And Marc Fortier reports that James O’Keefe could be back in the state this week. On Saturday, convicted filmaker is scheduled to address the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers in Hillsborough.
O’Keefe, you may remember, ducked out of his last New Hampshire engagement to avoid being served a grand jury subpoena. He is under investigation by the Attorney General’s office over his attempt to show “Dead People Vote in New Hampshire” but which, as Media Matters notes, “largely shows the logical incoherence of the right wing’s voter fraud paranoia.”
New Hampshire’s Republican-dominated legislature flexed its muscles today and overrode vetoes from Gov. John Lynch on several major pieces of legislation.
Bills that because law over the governor’s veto today include a voter photo ID requirement (SB 289), educational tax credits for private and parochial schools (SB 382) and “early offer” medical malpractice reform (SB 406).
The legislature was unable to override the governor’s veto on medical marijuana legislation (SB 409), collective bargaining oversight (HB 1666) and a fetal homicide bill (SB 217).
Full details follow below the fold.
The Nation covers the tug-of-war between Gov. John Lynch and the legislature over voter ID. The author warns that the voter ID legislation threatens the Granite State’s pround record of high voter turnout — also that lawsuits are sure to follow.
New Hampshire is notable for its high voter turn out, second only to Minnesota and Wisconsin in the 2008 elections, according to the U.S. Elections Project at George Mason University. For a year, Gov. John Lynch has tried to protect that legacy against the legislature’s attempt to pass a voter ID bill. He now appears ready to concede the point—if only the legislature would let him.
This week, Lynch was ready to compromise and sign off on a bill. But the version the state’s legislature presented was so excessively restrictive he vetoed the legislation Wednesday. Lawmakers are now preparing to vote on whether to override the governor’s veto on June 27.
The bill is meant to restrict state government employees who use their governmental IDs. Aside from negatively impacting student voters, the bill would also have taken its toll on African Americans, who are over represented in municipal, county and state jobs.
As the end of the legislative session looms, the state Senate yesterday acted on 75 bills — before lunch. The chamber was addressing bills that had been previously approved by the Senate and then amended by the House.
The Senators could take one of three actions: they could concur with the amended version (after which the bill would then be sent to the Governor for his signature), they could non-concur (which would kill the bill), or they could agree to a Committee of Conference to work out a compromise with the House.
The Senate killed bills that would have established a 24-hour waiting period for abortions (SB 295), allowed towns to refuse to accept refugees (SB 155) and eliminated the the state university system’s chancellor’s office (HB 1692).
Committees of Conference will be formed to negotiate with the House over medical marijuana (SB 409), photo identification for voting (SB 289), medical malpractice reform (SB 406) and a religious exemption for contraception insurance coverage (SB 356).