New concept would double work of election officials, spike costs to taxpayers, and create undue confusion for voters
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, the House Election Law Committee voted to adopt amendment 2021-1445h to SB 89, which would create a two-tiered system for state and federal elections if the “For the People Act” currently being debated in the U.S. Congress were to become law. The committee subsequently voted 10-9 to recommend passage of SB 89 to the full House. Deputy Democratic Leader David E. Cote (D-Nashua), Ranking Democrat on the House Election Law Committee, released the following statement:
“The amendment passed today by Election Law Republicans is blatantly unconstitutional and would turn New Hampshire’s elections into a logistical nightmare. In their zeal to deny the adoption of basic voting rights like universal access to absentee balloting, Republicans want to create an entirely new election process separating state and federal elections. This concept would violate the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, double the work of election officials, skyrocket costs to taxpayers, and create vast, unnecessary confusion for voters throughout the state.
The two-tiered election concept is not used in any other states because it is so costly, confusing, and illogical. It would require separate voting lists, separate ballots, and different laws to govern state and federal races. The Secretary of State’s Office could not provide any information about the financial impact of this new two-tiered election system, which is particularly concerning given the immense cost it would pass on to Granite State taxpayers.
SB 89 began as a bipartisan bill with simple reforms and improved the procedure for absentee ballot processing. The partisan amendment brought in by Republicans to create an expensive two-tiered election system is a poison pill. Passing this legislation when the Secretary of State’s Office could provide zero information about the cost of implementation is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful that the interests of New Hampshire taxpayers are being thrown aside because Republicans feel threatened by attempts by Congress to protect voting rights nationwide.”