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.

LWV questions for Supreme Court Nominee

The national League of Women Voters is suggesting three key questions that Senators ask of the new administration's Supreme Court nominee. Read the LWV blog here

"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.

Electronic poll books

League testimony in favor of a bill allowing a trial run in the fall of electronic polls books was quoted in a 4/29/16 Foster's Daily Democrat article. Click here to read the article.

Voter ID struggles on primary day

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

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

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

Online voter registration -- editorial

Jan. 5, 2016 This editorial in the Nashua Telegraph in support of online voter registration in NH echoes the League's position that voting must move into the 21st century. Click here to read the article

Voter Registration Court Victory

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

League opposes 30 days domicile bill

April 29, 2015 Press release from America Votes and the League of Women Voters NH explains again opposition to SB179, which today was voted Ought to Pass by the NH House Election Law committee. This is the bill requiring a 30-days residency period before registering to vote and also revising wording on the registration form to include the following: "requiring a driver to register a motor vehicle and apply for a New Hampshire's driver's license within 60 days of becoming a resident." It will go to the entire House for a vote (it has already passed in the Senate). Download the pdf of the press release

The League's op-ed piece opposing NH's proposed domicile definition bill appeared in the Nashua Telegraph April 6, 2015

On the same day this article (not League written) appeared in the Concord Monitor explaining the panoply of election law under consideration in NH this year.Concord Monitor article 4-6-15

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

League testimony on HB 112 as amended was submitted to 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

Oct. 5, 2014 op ed piece, of 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