NH Dems - College Students Are Too Dumb to Understand What It Means to be a Resident of New Hampshire (I'm Not Kidding) ... - Granite Grok

NH Dems – College Students Are Too Dumb to Understand What It Means to be a Resident of New Hampshire (I’m Not Kidding) …

Student clipboard peace sign


From the linked op-ed:

The ACLU is arguing that the law is too confusing to implement in upcoming elections, including the presidential primary in February, and they’re right. Agencies that should be able to explain just what the law does or does not do, including the Secretary of State’s Office and the Division of Motor Vehicles, have been unable to do soMonitor State House reporter Ethan DeWitt found. Town clerks and poll workers don’t have answers. No one has explained if or when an effort will be made to match voter records with motor vehicle records, or if students or others living in the state temporarily will be fined or otherwise punished.

All that the law does is make the act of voting in New Hampshire a declaration of residency in New Hampshire. If you lack the capacity to understand what it means to be a resident of a State, perhaps you have no business voting in that State?

The ACLU’s argument (based on the op-ed – I have not read what they have filed in court) is not actually that the law itself is confusing, but that they are confused as to how or even if the law might be subsequently enforced. In other words, the ACLU … which as we all know is just a stalking horse for the New Hampshire Democrat Party … is arguing that the law is unconstitutional because a nonresident voter might be less inclined to vote in New Hampshire (“voter suppression”) because … get this … it is not clear whether he or she can vote and then get away with avoiding the responsibilities of a resident.

Stated more succinctly, the ACLU’s argument is not that the law is confusing; it’s that there is confusion as to whether drive-by-voters will be able to circumvent the law. That is completely nonsensical. It’s like arguing that a law against prostitution is unconstitutionally confusing because the police won’t tell you if they might enforce the law via undercover stings.

Here the argument is actually even more attenuated. The ACLU is arguing that a law making the act of voting a declaration of residency is unconstitutionally confusing because it is not clear how or if totally separate laws …driver’s licenses and motor vehicle registrations … might be enforced.

I don’t like it at all that the agencies under Governor Sununu apparently are not explicitly telling new voters that by becoming residents they must get New Hampshire driver’s licenses and register their cars, such as Maine does:

Consequences of Declaring Your Voting Residence (by Registering to Vote) in Maine

… if you register to vote in Maine, you will be deemed to have declared residency in Maine, which may require compliance with other Maine laws, including the motor vehicle laws and tax laws. If you drive a car in Maine, you are required to obtain a Maine driver’s license within thirty days of establishing residency here. If you are a resident of Maine and own a vehicle here, state law also requires you to register that vehicle in Maine within thirty days of establishing residency. By declaring Maine as your voting residence, you may also be treated as a resident of Maine for income tax purposes and be subject to Maine income tax. 

Giving prospective voters similar information might dissuade voters who intend to try to evade their new responsibilities as residents, i.e. engage in drive-by voting. But that does not make the law unconstitutionally confusing. Restating what I said above: if you lack the wherewithal to understand what it means to declare residency in New Hampshire, then you have no business voting in New Hampshire or anywhere for that matter.

In sum, the only confusion is the confusion that the ACLU is trying to generate. The law is crystal clear – voting in New Hampshire is a declaration of residency in New Hampshire. That law does not become unconstitutionally confusing because nobody is saying if or how the State might subsequently deal with voters who fail to meet the residential responsibilities set out in totally separate laws.