WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new bill moving through the New Hampshire Legislature would effectively ban out-of-state college students attending school in the state from voting. The bill — House Bill 86 — would require students to qualify for in-state tuition in order to register to vote in New Hampshire, preventing the large population of young people who move to the state for their four years of college from casting a ballot. H.B. 86 also potentially suppresses college students who go to private universities in New Hampshire.
The bill also seeks to limit access to the ballot box in a host of other ways, including eliminating same-day voter registration and establishing closed primaries in the state, which would require any independents (the largest bloc of New Hampshire voters) to register with a party in order to vote in the primaries.
The bill follows a long history of New Hampshire Republicans working to restrict student voting rights in the important First In the Nation presidential primary state. Ben Wessel, executive director of the youth vote organization NextGen America, wrote about the history of the state’s student vote suppression for Democracy Docket last month. The bill is still in committee and is expected to move to the state House floor in the summer.