New election laws in such places as New Hampshire are confusing and confounding American voters in the middle of the tumultuous 2020 Democratic Primary. While there’s no serious Republican Primary contender facing President Trump in his re-election bid, the myroad of Democratic candidates vying for their party’s nomination have already encountered election-related difficulties in states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
One New Hampshire election law that was passed by the Republican Party in 2018 is generating serious concern across the state that college students will stay at home during the forthcoming 2020 presidential election.
According to a Roll Call report, the GOP-sponsored legislation redefined the terms “resident” and “domicile” to have the same meaning under election law. This means that citizens who register to vote in New Hampshire must meet residency requirements in order to cast their ballots. One effect of the tightened rules is that citizens who live in New Hampshire but received their driver’s license in a different state would be required to get a New Hampshire driver’s license before casting their ballots.
The American Civil Liberties Union has targeted the law by decrying it as a “poll tax,” or a measure which either literally or effectively requires citizens to pay a sum of money in order to cast their ballot in an election. According to the ACLU’s webpage regarding their lawsuit against the new law, residents of New Hampshire who have drivers licenses or other vehicle registration data from a different state will be facing an unjust financial burden to change those documents in order to vote.
As the Roll Call report on the new law illustrates, Republican officials such as Kris Kobach have argued that voter fraud in New Hampshire and elsewhere tipped elections in favor of the Democratic Party. These officials have provided no evidence to support such claims, however, and numerous officials such as the New Hampshire Secretary of State have dismissed allegations that voting fraud is rampant, noting there’s no evidence to prove such a claim even after President Trump established a special commission to study the subject.
Voter fraud nevertheless remains a common topic of political debate.
President Trump recently repeated a debunked claim that voter fraud was rife during his 2016 presidential election during a recent campaign rally in New Hampshire. Per an MSNBC report, President Trump has raised the issue of undocumented immigrants being “bussed in” to voting booths around the nation without ever providing evidence for such claims. American Secretaries of State from Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, and other states have repeatedly dismissed claims that voter fraud is a problem in the United States.
The presidents’ previous claims surrounding voter fraud became so widespread that Ohio’s Secretary of State felt compelled to remind his 2017 commission on the subject how rare voter fraud really is, according to a report from the Plain Dealer.
Allegations of voter fraud, especially those which aren’t backed by data, are considered harmful because they can diminish voter turnout. When citizens mistakenly believe their votes don’t matter, they feel less inclined to cast a ballot. Nevertheless, recent voter turnout figures have been higher than the historical average. According to data provided by the Census Bureau, “voter turnout went up among all voting age and major racial and ethnic groups” in the 2018 midterms.