Keep up to date with League activities. Read the most recent League press releases and news articles about the League here.
The hearing on the preliminary injunction is now scheduled for Monday, Sept. 11, 1:30 pm, at Hillsborough Superior Court, 30 Spring St., Nashua.
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.
LWV national president Chris Carson also released a statement today. Read her statement here.
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.)
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
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