WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a lawsuit was filed challenging Senate Bill 418, New Hampshire’s recently enacted voter suppression law. S.B. 418 requires voters who register to vote for the first time on Election Day but lack a valid photo ID to vote on a separate affidavit ballot, which is then separated from other completed ballots. After the election, these voters have seven days to mail documentation establishing their identity to the secretary of state in order for their votes to be counted. If voters fail to do so, their votes will be discarded from the official election results and their names will be referred to the attorney general’s office for investigation. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed the bill into law earlier this afternoon, despite expressing complete confidence in New Hampshire’s past elections and concluding that the 2020 general election was “secure, accurate, and reliable—there is no question about it.”
In the lawsuit filed today on behalf of 603 Forward, Open Democracy and a New Hampshire voter, S.B. 418 is challenged for violating multiple provisions of the New Hampshire Constitution. The plaintiffs argue that the law will create “unreasonable and unnecessary obstacles for first-time, same-day registrants, including voters who have recently moved into the State of New Hampshire, as well as voters who traditionally have greater difficulty obtaining state-approved photo identification.” The lawsuit also alleges that this law creates a two-tiered voting system because “those who seek to register to vote on Election Day without photo identification will be forced to cast inferior” affidavit ballots that are separated and easily distinguishable from regular ballots, thereby removing a level of secrecy from voting. As New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan (R) pointed out during the legislative session, S.B. 418 delays the final election results by at least seven days, which may separately violate the state constitution’s requirement that election results be delivered to the secretary of state five days after an election. The plaintiffs ask the state court to declare that S.B. 418 violates the New Hampshire Constitution and permanently block it from being enforced.