Making Democracy Work

In The News

press releases & news articles

Keep up to date with League activities. Read the most recent League press releases and news articles about the League here.

SB3 court ruling--disappointing news Oct. 26, 2018

The NH Supreme Court this afternoon ruled that SB3 will stay in effect through the Nov. 6, 2018 election, in effect cancelling the impact of the good news below for this election.

Here is WMUR's explanation of the ruling: https://www.wmur.com/article/nh-supreme-court-restores-registration-forms-process-of-2017-proof-of-domicle-law-sb-3/24286469

Here is NHPR's explanation of the ruling. NHPR had daily coverage of the hearing in later August, for which League thanks them sincerely, particularly reporter Casey McDermott. http://www.nhpr.org/post/nh-supreme-court-says-sb3-can-stay-place-reversing-lower-courts-order

SB3 court ruling--good news Oct. 22, 2018

The League is happy to announce that voting rights scored a victory today with Judge Kenneth Brown's ruling. Read the NHPR article for more details, then tell everyone you know who hasn't registered yet that they can do so on election day without unnecessarily complicated paperwork and without longer than usual lines at the polls.

From NHPR: http://www.nhpr.org/post/judge-blocks-sb3-voter-registration-law-use-upcoming-midterms#stream/0

successful forum in Jaffrey

Voter funded elections

Open Democracy released this statement on 9/25/18 regarding a bill submitted for public funding of elections. The League shares with Open Democracy a commitment to campaign finance reform, and this bill would be big first step in NH. Read the press release here.

Constituion Day Sept 17, 2018

The League of Women Voters NH, in accordance with our national League position on constitutional conventions, issues this op-ed for Constitution Day 2018. Click here

SB3 lawsuit news, 2018

Aug. 27, 2018 The preliminary injunctions hearing in Manchester began today, continuing thru Sept. 7 at least. Liz Tentarelli testified on behalf of League on Monday. Read NHPR Casey McDermott's report here. Our thanks to Ms McDermott for being in court each day to cover this important voter registration lawsuit.

July 10, 2018 Union Leader article explaining the upcoming legal events for the voter registration bill passed last year, SB3. See more.

June 26, 2018 Nashua Telegraph article by Damien Fisher, staff writer: http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/local-news/2018/06/26/august-sb-3-trial-delayed/

"MANCHESTER + The saga of New Hampshire's voter residency requirement law, commonly known as SB 3, began amid allegations by Republicans that people from Massachusetts crossed the border to cast Democratic ballots during the 2016 presidential election.

On Monday, the latest development in the matter saw Hillsborough Superior Court-North Judge Kenneth Brown call the trial schedule for SB 3 unrealistic, as he pushed back the planned Aug. 20 trial.

"It's not going to happen this August. I think we should look at it more realistically," Brown told attorney Bruce Spiva, who is representing the League of Women Voters in the case.

Spiva was pushing to keep to the Aug. 20 trial date. Instead, Brown will oversee hearings during the week of Aug. 27 on whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the state to keep it from enforcing the law ahead of the November midterm elections.

Brown took on the case this week after Hillsborough Superior Court-South Judge Charles Temple stepped aside, citing a conflict of interest because of a personal relationship with one of the lawyers working on the case. In his ruling taking him off the case, Temple wrote that the change of judges should not delay the case schedule.

Brown disagrees.

One of the major issues at play in the case is a New Hampshire Supreme Court review of Temple's order from earlier this year, which requires state officials to hand over copies of the statewide voter database to the plaintiffs: the League of Women Voters and the New Hampshire Democratic Party. The high court could reverse Temple's ruling, throwing much of the evidence prepared by the plaintiffs into question.

"You can't try the case without that information," Brown told Spiva.

Spiva argued for pushing forward with the planned trial, saying he expected an expedited ruling from the Supreme Court before the end of July. That would give both sides just enough time to prepare for the Aug. 20 trial, according to Spiva.

Assistant Attorney General Anthony Galdieri balked at the idea of going forward with the trial, saying there are still too many outstanding issues concerning motions to quash subpoenas, motions to exclude some witnesses, and depositions to still take before the trail can start.

"It's virtually impossible to have a trial in August," Galdieri said.

The state is pushing for a trial sometime in April, well after the November elections and after New Hampshire's traditional Town Meeting election season. Short of a trial, Spiva said he has enough evidence to seek the preliminary injunction against the state. The could keep the state from enforcing SB 3 during the midterms while the trial is pending. Temple ruled last year to block the state from enforcing any criminal penalties written into the law.

The SB 3 lawsuit started last year, after Gov. Chris Sununu signed the law, which creates possible criminal penalties for people who register to vote on election day, but fail to provide evidence they are legally entitled to vote within a certain timeframe. The lawsuit, brought by the state's Democratic Party, the League of Women Voters, and some individual voters, claims the law will discourage poor, minorities, and college students from voting.

Though no schedule for the trial has been set yet, Brown ordered all the attorney's to be present for the preliminary injunction hearings in August.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or dfisher@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DF."

June 19, 2018 Nashua Telegraph article: By Damien Fisher, Staff Writer <http://nashuatelegraph.nh.newsmemory.com/publink.php?shareid=25ff909d3>

"MANCHESTER + The SB 3 voter registration lawsuit is going to have to wait, as the scheduled Aug. 20 trial is being put off after the case was moved to Manchester.

According to court filings this week, the lawsuit's trial date for later this summer is not going to happen, and has yet to be rescheduled. The case was moved to the Hillsborough Superior Court-North in Manchester after Judge Charles Temple, who presides in the Hillsborough Superior Court-South in Nashua, recused himself.

The case is now on for a status conference next week in the Manchester courthouse where it has been assigned to Judge Kenneth Brown. Temple took himself off the case to avoid a conflict after the state hired one of Temple's close friends.

The SB 3 lawsuit started last year, after Gov. Chris Sununu signed the law that creates possible criminal penalties for people who register to vote on Election Day, but fail to provide evidence they are legally allowed to vote within a certain timeframe. The lawsuit, brought by the state's Democratic Party, the League of Women Voters, and some individual voters, claims the law will discourage poor, minorities, and college students from voting.

The law was written and passed amid reports of people from Massachusetts taking buses to vote in New Hampshire during the 2016 presidential election. Those stories turned out to be false. Assistant Attorney General Ann Edwards recently testified before the Ballot Law Commission that while some hired buses were used to bring voters to the polls on 2016's Election Day, the voters in the buses were legally permitted to vote in New Hampshire."

June 8, 2018 Judge Temple has recused himself from the trial, previously scheduled for Aug. 20-31, 2018. League does not know yet know what the trial date will be as the case is moved to another judge's courtroom. Read the Union Leader article here.

HB 1264 voter suppression bill

July 13, 2018 The League of Women Voters NH urges Governor Sununu to keep his promise to veto any bill that would infringe on the right of college students in NH to vote. That means the advisory opinion on HB 1264 should be viewed in a limited light: two of the judges do not agree that the bill is constitutional, and in any case the advisory opinion is not binding. A court challenge, after implementation of a bill whose intent is to make voter registration harder for students and others who can't say they will live in NH forever, could well result in a different verdict.

The League urges the Governor to veto HB 1264. UPDATE: Governor Sununu signed this bill, which will take effect July 1, 2019.

July 21, 2018: News posting about voter suppression in NH from NBC news. Click here to read the article. Article also mentions the League's lawsuit against the state re last year's onerous SB3 voter registration bill.

editorial: postponing town elections

This editorial appears in the June 14, 2018, Concord Monitor. Nancy Marashio is a state League board member and vice-president of the LWV Kearsarge/Sunapee Area.

Click here to read the editorial about why SB438 needed to be killed.

Nashua registers new young voters

A big thank you to the League, the Nashua mayor and city clerk, and the election officials who made it easy for 61 students at Nashua High School (North and South) to register at their schools, to vote in future local and state elections.

See the Mayor's posting about this on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MayorJimDonchess/?hc_ref=ARRZV7E5RmLNxA0d1I8HflhFoFhlsFdOB8biBWMotVZcUbU_5FxCK-3hsQG9tDAgVmk&fref=nf&hc_location=group

nre League unit: Mt. Washington Valley

The steering committee of our newest unit is pictured in this Conway Daily Sun article of May 17, 2018: https://www.conwaydailysun.com/news/local/area-residents-form-unit-of-league-of-women-voters/article_e3cf46c4-577d-11e8-8e5e-5bae3dcb604b.html

Gerrymandering: guest editorial

LWVNH member from Nashua Jean Lewandowski has been writing occasional editorials for the Nashua Telegraph. Today's is part two of her thoughts about gerrymandering. Try this link, or find the print edition for May 17, 2018.

New Women's Prison opens April 17, 2018

Read the NH Dept. of Corrections press release here.

The League of Women Voters NH began our study of the issues facing women incarcerated in NH in 2009. We visited the county houses of correction, the women's prison in Goffstown, the women's "halfway house" at Shea Farm, drug courts. We interviewed many people and did research (some of which is available on our website.) Along with several other organizations we fought the proposal for a privatized women's prison and won, then advocated for a new prison with improved education and rehabilitative services. Finally the new New Hampshire Correctional Facility for Women is open in Concord. The women moved in on April 17, 2018. The old Goffstown facility will be turned back to Hillsborough county for conversion or dismantling as they see fit.

Students March for our Lives (March 24, 2018)

In the Nashua march of over 1,000 people, one of our student members (second from left) walked beside our US Senators.

A LWVNH member also marched in DC, and a number of members from around NH joined marches in Concord, Jackson, Peterborough, and elsewhere.

Proud of our members making their voices heard to keep our schools safe!

Editorial voting rights bills

Thanks to a partnership between the Nashua Telegraph and the LWVNH Nashua unit, League member Jean Lewandowski is writing occasional editorial pieces from the League's perspective. Way to go, Jean!

Here is a link to the Feb. 18, 2018, piece about election law bills working their way thru the NH Legislature.

http://nashuatelegraph.nh.newsmemory.com/publink.php?shareid=245a207b2

Nashua candidate forums

Five forums in 6 weeks, organized by League of Women Voters in concert with Nashua Public Library and the Nashua Telegraph, televised by Access Nashua--read the Nashua Telegraph editorial in support of the forums and voters' access to make informed decisions Nov. 7, 2017, at the polls. <http://nashuatelegraph.nh.newsmemory.com/publink.php?shareid=06d905e18>

Lawsuit update Sept. 12, 2017

Judge Temple in Hillsborough Superior Court this morning issued a ruling that the procedures for voter registration under SB3 may be used for the special election today in the Laconia area, but that any penalty for failing to return papers shall not be imposed. He also directed the Secretary of State to educate the voters about the new registration procedures (something that has not happened, via website or a public information campaign, as of Sept. 12, 2017).

Lawsuit update Sept. 11, 2017

League had its day in court Monday, 9/11/17, although no "live" testimony was taken. The judge's ruling for a preliminary injunction is promised for 7 am Tuesday. Click here to read the article from the Union Leader.

Lawsuit update Sept. 6, 2017

Read the WMUR-TV article about the League's lawsuit in our attempt to stop implementation of the voter registration restrictions. Click here to read the article.

The hearing on the preliminary injunction is now scheduled for Monday, Sept. 11, 1:30 pm, at Hillsborough Superior Court, 30 Spring St., Nashua.

LWVNH lawsuit Aug 23, 2017

UPDATE Sept. 3, 2017 The state has moved the case from state court to federal court (their right), so the hearing on the preliminary injunction (see below) scheduled for Sept. 6 at 10:30 am in Hillsborough Superior Court, Nashua, is unlikely. Check back Tuesday, Sept. 5, for an update.

On Aug. 25, 2017, a preliminary injunction was filed on behalf of the LWVNH and others to halt implementation of SB3 voter registration provisions while the lawsuit (see below) moves forward. The scheduled Sept. 8 enactment means that people registering for city primaries and city elections in Sept-Nov will be subject to a law that is unnecessarily complicated, has not yet been explained to the public in simple language, and thus may intimidate otherwise qualified potential voters from even attempting to register. Click Here for link to Public News Service article on the injunction filing, 8/28/17

Look in Thursday's (8/24)newspapers for a press release, but this is a heads-up for League of Women Voters NH members about some exciting news:

LWVNH and three college students are the plaintiffs in the suit filed Wednesday morning in Hillsborough South court against NH Sec. of State Bill Gardner and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, to stop implementation of the unreasonably complicated new voter registrations procedures set to go into effect on Sept. 8. The new procedures are the result of the passage of SB3 last spring in the NH House. The League contends that the complexity of the forms and procedures will discourage new voters, particularly those in a state of transition in their lives in terms of where they live. SB3 created a process impossible to explain in short simple language, which is how we have to explain things in our voter information brochures and on our website. We hope to stop the implementation so we won't be compelled to attempt the impossible...and also so this solution in search of a problem can go away.

The suit itself is 86 pages and we can't post such a large document on the LWVNH.org website. We hope the press release tomorrow will include a link to the court file stamped document.

The primary law firm is Perkins Coie LLP, who have prepared numerous lawsuits across the country on behalf of voting rights groups. The League proudly stands up for the rights of all to vote.

EIC request--response from LWVNH

The June 28, 2017 request by the Election Integrity Commission for voting records from all 50 states goes beyond anything the commission should need to do its work. Read the League of Women Voters NH press release on the issue here. June 30, 2017.

LWV national president Chris Carson also released a statement today. Read her statement here.

Electronic poll books bill

The League of Women Voters NH with its partner organizations issued the following press release on June 1, 2017, following the passed of a bill allowing for trials of electronic poll books. We are happy. Click here for the press release.

"Fake News, Tweets and Facts in our Democracy"

LWV/Hopkinton Town Library Program--

On Sunday, March 26, a standing room only crowd filled the Community Room at Hopkinton Town Library eager to learn what a distinguished panel had to share with them about "Fake News, Tweets and Facts in our Democracy." NH League of Women Voters President Liz Tentarelli served as moderator as Dan Barrick, news director of NHPR; Ralph Jimenez, Concord Monitor editorial writer; John Greabe, UNH Law Professor, and documentary maker John Gfroerer discussed the proliferation of fake news across the media spectrum and the challenge this poses to voters seeking solid, dependable information upon which to make decisions as to what policies or political candidates they should support.

Professor John Greabe emphasized the difficulty of legally challenging Fake News given the central importance in our society of the First Amendment which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." He cautioned his audience not to expect the courts to solve the challenges posed by fake news.

NH Public Radio News Director Dan Barrick spoke of the very human element of "bias" in all of us, and, reflecting fellow panelist Ralph Jimenez's observations, noted that a journalist's training is focused on the recognition of such natural bias and the intentional determination to examine issues from a variety of perspectives to ensure balanced and accurate reporting.

Ralph Jimenez challenged the audience to "not think of an elephant." In doing so Jimenez demonstrated the views of cognitive science and linguistics professor George Lakoff, whose research helps to explain how fake news works. Simply by hearing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called "crooked Hillary" over and over, voters automatically made a negative association.

Filmmaker John Gfroerer, whose presentation "Television: The Art and Ethics of Manipulation" is included in the NH Humanities Humanities to Go catalogue, shared a series of examples of the acceptance of far-fetched, unsubstantiated stories by uncritical news consumers.

The panelists spoke of a time not so long ago when there was justifiable public confidence in the solid reporting of journalists like Walter Cronkite. The internet and the growth of "infotainment" sources make the creation and proliferation of fake news a growth industry. Still, today there are many excellent and dependable journalists working diligently to provide the solid information citizens in a democracy rely. However, Ralph Jimenez cautioned his audience, it is now imperative that citizens practice "discernment" and rely on multiple reputable news sources and utilize fact-checking services whenever there is reason to doubt a news report.

As Doris Haddock, NH's own "Granny D." said, "Democracy is not something you have, it is something you do." In the era of fake news, that means we need to do what is necessary to get the information we must have to exercise our rights as citizens.

(League member Janet Ward was the driving force behind this program and wrote the above summary for us. More than 110 people attended. For more information on the topic of Fake News, people might want to seek out area libraries that offer presentations on how to recognize internet fake news sites, given by library personnel or by guest speaker Randall Mikkelson.)

League news story 3-4-17

The Valley News published an article about League on Saturday, March 4, 2017. Correspondent Nicola Smith conducted interviews with league president and several members in NH and VT. Read the story here.

Voter ID struggles on primary day 2016

From Think Progress, this Feb. 9, 2016 article quotes LWVNH Election Law specialist Joan Flood Ashwell on the challenges that face people in voting under the current voter ID rules. Click here to read the article

Voting in the Presidential Primary 2016

This NHPR article of Jan. 4, 2016, details potential confusion voters may have regarding voter identification in the presidential primary. Clear answers are given to voting questions, and the article references League election law specialist Joan Flood Ashwell. One item missing from this article that voters should keep in mind: By law, a voter without voter ID can ask an election official (moderator, town/city clerk, supervisor of checklist) to verify his or her identity. Such identification counts, and those identified do not have to complete the affidavit/photo-taking route. Click here to read the article

NH's Voter ID and Photo Laws 2016

This article in The Nation (Feb. 8, 2016) reflects the League's issues with the increased voter requirements in NH and gives an explanation of how the restrictions developed since 2011. Click here to access the article

Voter Registration Court Victory 2015

May 15, 2015 NH Supreme court struck down the 2012 law that added language to the voter registration form requiring car registration in NH as part of voting domicile. The League was a plaintiff in the original lawsuit, along with several college students. Read the press release from the NH ACLU that handled the case. League is happy.

State Rep Wayne Burton wrote this Op Ed piece about HB 112, on which the League has testified at every opportunity. We are opposed to the bill that links car registration to voter registration, and were part of the lawsuit challenging that in 2012. Read his piece from the Foster's Daily Democrat of March 24, 2015

Another election law court challenge

Feb. 3, 2015 Election Law This press release by the American Civil Liberties Union of NH refers to the situation in which LWVNH originally was a plaintive. The League agrees with the ACLUNH that the Secretary of State's letter to voters described in this press release is in violation of the court order. Download the pdf of the press release

Election Law HB 112 testimony 2015

League testimony on HB 112 as amended was submitted electronically to the House Election Law committee on Feb. 1, 2015. The League opposes this attempt to redefine "domicile" for voting purposes in an unclear and possibly unconstitutional way. Download the pdf of the League's testimony.

voting fraud rebuttal 2014

Oct. 5, 2014 op ed piece, on which LWVNH is one of four signers, rebutting Secretary of State Bill Gardner's recent erroneous statements about widespread voter fraud. Download the op ed pdf