NH’s Voter ID Law Is Now in the Hands of the U.S. Dept. of Justice

What Does Richard Nixon Have to Do with It?

Last week State officials asked the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to rush its review of New Hampshire’s new photo ID voting law. This new law requires a person to present a photo identification at the polls in order to vote.  The change is scheduled to begin with the November general election. A person without a photo ID will be able to fill out a challenged voter affidavit in order to vote.

What's Nixon Got to Do with It?

In subsequent elections, the persons without photo ID will also be photographed and have the photo attached to the affidavit.

So, what does the federal government have to do with it? NH has to submit any changes in its election law to the DOJ because of a transgression that took place during the 1968 Presidential election of Richard M. Nixon.  At that time, ten NH communities were found in violation of the federal Voting Rights Law of 1965.  The federal law was intended to crack down on discriminatory voting practices that made it difficult or banned voting by African-Americans or other minorities. New Hampshire is the only northern state on the list, along with Alabama, Mississippi and 13 others. Under its provisions, communities with 50 percent or fewer adults voting in a presidential election violated the act.

New Hampshire was caught up in the act in the 1968 presidential election when 10 small communities were identified: Rindge, Millsfield, Pinkham’s Grant, Stewartstown, Stratford, Benton, Antrim, Boscawen, Newington and Unity.

In compliance with the 1965 law, the DOJ will be reviewing the new voter ID law to be sure it does not deny or hinder the right to vote due to race, color or language.

If you want to comment on the new laws, contact the U.S. DOJ at 1-800-253-3931, via email at vot1973c@us.doj.gov; or by submitting written comments to Chief, Voting Section, Civil Rights Division, Room 7254 — NWB, Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20530. The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Elections Unit can be contacted at 1-866-8868-3703 or electionlaw@doj.nh.gov.

The DOJ has 60 days to review the submissions. The review period ends about two weeks prior to the September primary.

 

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