CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday signed a bill that creates a new type of “affidavit ballot" for first-time voters in New Hampshire who don't have required documents.
Under current law, such voters fill out affidavits promising to provide documentation within 10 days, and those who don’t can be investigated and charged with fraud. But the votes themselves remain valid.
Under the new law, which takes effect in 2023, ballots cast by voters who fail to provide proof of their identities and residency seven days after an election would be thrown out. Municipalities would report to the secretary of state total votes, minus the unqualified affidavit ballot votes, no later than 14 days after an election.
House Democratic Leader David Cote of Nashua said the measure jeopardizes the rights of overseas voters, particularly those serving in the armed forces. He said that Sununu, a Republican, should have sought a state supreme court opinion on its constitutionality.
Sununu said that Secretary of State David Scanlan “has given me his full assurances that this bill does not affect the state’s ability to get military ballots out on time, and that our processes will work without delay or impediments with its passage."
Bill sponsor Sen. Bob Giuda, R-Warren, said he's heard from constituents who say they've stopped voting in the face of increased fraud. State election officials say there's no evidence of widespread fraud.