It’s secure to say that the upcoming normal election might be in contrast to any earlier than. City and metropolis clerks and moderators expect document numbers of absentee ballots as we proceed to develop greatest practices for voting safely in gentle of the coronavirus pandemic. The nation is at a crossroads as we confront systemic racism, an eviction disaster, document unemployment, and a world pandemic. The votes we forged this November are about greater than who we elect, they’re about what we worth as a state and a rustic. Our votes will set the tone for who we wish to be as a nation.
Our democracy is constructed on the concept that each voice, and each vote, counts. This 12 months, Senate Democrats put ahead 4 items of laws to enhance our election system and defend free and honest elections each throughout, and after the coronavirus pandemic. Of these, Governor Sununu vetoed three. On September 16, the Home and the Senate will return to the State Home and the Whittemore Middle to behave on Governor Sununu’s vetoes – every vote requires a vote to override, which might imply that laws would turn out to be legislation regardless of the Governor’s veto. At a time when the best way we vote, and our entry to voting is at stake, it’s vital that we have a look at the laws earlier than us and battle to override Sununu’s vetoes on voting rights payments.
The Senate might be taking on my invoice, SB 7, often known as the SMART Act, to modernize New Hampshire’s election infrastructure and make registration extra accessible to eligible Granite State voters by permitting the DMV to gather info after which securely switch that info to the election web system. Greater than ever, we have to make investments our federal Assist America Vote Act (HAVA) funds into streamlining the registration course of. We have now heard the fears of our native election officers who fear in regards to the impacts of lengthy traces for similar day registration. The SMART Act would scale back time spent in traces and permit folks to forged their votes shortly and safely. Moreover, it might guarantee correct information to additional safe our elections.
The SMART Act is a confirmed system – sixteen states and the District of Columbia have seen the numerous affect of correct information imports with reference to registering eligible voters. Based on the US census, there are greater than 300,000 eligible New Hampshire voters who aren’t but registered. It’s our job to broaden election entry and guarantee each voice is heard – however Governor Sununu would relatively preserve roadblocks to voting in place. It’s clear the present system isn’t working for all Granite Staters – it’s time to ask why Sununu is afraid to make sure everybody can vote by enacting commonsense measures to safe our elections.
The Home might be taking on the Governor’s vetoes of two different payments to safeguard our elections – – an impartial redistricting fee (HB 1665) and complete election reform (HB 1672).
New Hampshire voters overwhelmingly assist impartial redistricting. We noticed that assist in lots of New Hampshire cities together with Hopkinton this summer time when 87% of voters at their annual City Assembly supported a petition warrant article to assist HB 1665. When districts are drawn by these searching for political acquire, districts are gerrymandered, which in flip silences the voices of eligible Granite State voters. Each the Home and Senate handed HB 1665 with bipartisan assist however true to type, the Governor vetoed the measure. Now the Home has a possibility to do the appropriate factor and override this out-of-touch veto. Will Republicans do what’s proper for New Hampshire – what they forged their votes for just some brief months in the past? Or will Republicans betray their constituents to guard Sununu?
HB 1672 aimed to convey New Hampshire up to the mark with safe and fashionable election methods which have been confirmed profitable all through the nation. It will have instituted the Digital Registration Info Middle (ERIC), on-line voter registration, and made no excuse absentee ballots a everlasting fixture in New Hampshire elections. Election day scheduling challenges aren’t new to the coronavirus pandemic. Lengthy earlier than the general public well being disaster, eligible voters have missed elections attributable to work schedules, caregiving obligations, or sickness. No excuse absentee voting removes these scheduling roadblocks and ensures everybody can safely and securely forged their poll.
Voting is a deeply ingrained a part of New Hampshire’s tradition. Because the first-in-the-nation state, our engagement within the democratic course of is a degree of pleasure. This November, I urge voters to lift their voices. Vote safely, vote with pleasure, and vote for the New Hampshire you imagine in.
Democrat Melanie Levesque represents District 12 within the New Hampshire State Senate. The views expressed are these of the author.