With all of the attention in the media over the last weeks regarding Voter ID, it is a far more complex issue than many realize. Depending on who you ask and how they interpret the law, you get many answers regarding who can vote, what defines domicile, and can someone pull in off Interstate 93 and vote because they want their vote to count in a battleground state? There is no silver bullet to fix this issue. There is, however, one thing that the State Legislators and Governor must ask themselves. Are the visiting out-of-state students attending New Hampshire’s universities and colleges to be treated better than our men and women in uniform?
The servicemen and women who protect the rights so many take for granted must vote by absentee ballot if they want to vote. Think about the difficulty that entails. If a combat soldier in Afghanistan wants to vote, he or she must send a request to the town clerk or city clerk in the place they live or their home of record when not deployed and request an absentee ballot. They then must vote and return that ballot by mail in time to have it counted. By no means is that an easy task in many of the places our servicemen and women are stationed. It seems appropriate that if these visiting college students want to vote in elections, they should do so by requesting an absentee ballot like the thousands of brave men and women serving this country. How on earth could that disenfranchise anyone? If anything, the people protecting our freedom and God-given rights here in the United States are the ones being disenfranchised.
I do not think it would be prudent for the Governor or State Chairman Buckley or State Chairman Horn or any Legislator to have a problem with treating our visiting out-of-state college students in the same manner as we do our brave men and women in the military. Voter ID laws in New Hampshire, as mentioned, are very complex, but this would be one way to put everyone on an equal footing with no one being disenfranchised.
New Hampshire citizens and taxpayers should decide New Hampshire elections. After all, the New Hampshire taxpayers will be responsible for the consequences of the election and these elections can be easily affected by non-residents.
If a 20-year old soldier in combat or in any of the duty stations has to vote absentee, then a 20-year old sitting comfortably in a dorm in New Hampshire can certainly do it as well. It is high time to do the right thing.
Jim Adams is Chairman of the Granite State Taxpayers and a member of the New Hampshire State Veterans Council