There’s a problem with SB3 – the proposed election law

by Skip

hundreddollarbills-money-cash-bloomberg-750xx1024-576-0-53Yeah, Concord Monitor again, this time on SB3 that proposes to tighten up NH’s election law on the word “domicile” and cut out the nonsense that has basically allowed drive-by-voting for decades (and yes, we’ve been writing about this for years here at the ‘Grok).  I applaud the Rs for trying to do something about this.  BUT this shouldn’t happen:

…But they have to sign a form pledging to come back later with a required form of proof. Should a voter not return within 30 days, the bill gives local election officials authority to investigate suspected fraud.

…The House version of the bill lets town election officials refer any suspicious voter activity to the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office for further investigation if supervisors of the checklist did not want to go to people’s houses and verify it themselves. The bill does not give the office, or town election officials, any money to carry out the checks. Currently, the state attorney general’s office oversees such investigations.

Bad form, bad form, guys. As a former AND newly re-elected BudComm member in my hamlet, I really wouldn’t want our local SotC folks going out doing that kind of investigative work – they are NOT set up in case they were to knock on said doors and things went South in a hurry (without demeaning them, ours are literally little old ladies).  Maintaining the list is their job – police should do that work.

And they are on the clock which means they get paid. I have a problem with that.   I would fight this at my level, be it the SotC or police, as it would be yet another unfunded mandate.  We have yearly elections and Town meetings all leading up to OUR budgets.  Any local authority, if this stands, be should telling the State to pound sand if their “let” turns into a unwritten “shall”.  If this is a State level law, they should fund it (or have the County Sheriffs do it – but give them the money to do that as well). If the State is leading the charge on this (and they SHOULD), they ought to upfund the State Police in their budget if they won’t do it for the more local levels.

Besides, there is a MOST powerful mechanism that the locals can use to further pound that “pound sand”.  Unfortunately, not enough local officials even know about it and if they do, have bothered to use it – So, my favoritest Article in the NH Constitution (emphasis mine):

[Art.] 28-a. [Mandated Programs.] The state shall not mandate or assign any new, expanded or modified programs or responsibilities to any political subdivision in such a way as to necessitate additional local expenditures by the political subdivision unless such programs or responsibilities are fully funded by the state or unless such programs or responsibilities are approved for funding by a vote of the local legislative body of the political subdivision.

A great example of this is Special Education mandated by the State.  Each and every local School Board should be pushing back on the State and say “you want us to do this?  Fund it”.  Unfortunately, not enough do so.

Am hoping that our SotC’s do.

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  • Bryan W

    Over the years, I’ve been to several peoples’ houses:
    – returning drivers licenses left in the voting booth
    – registering voters who are homebound
    – verifying that a member of the household has moved out
    – verifying if they are really in our town or not – new construction on top of, or close to, the town line.

    Most of the time, we can do the voter stuff by mail, and with the last one, the Assessor’s Office & Planning Dept have gotten better over the years. As I get older, my inclination to go out to check these things is going down.

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