Domiciled to resident

NH makes it harder for out-of-state students to vote in 2019

Sebastien Mehegan

Administrative Executive Editor

With classes, housing, rent and work there are now changes in voting laws that students will have to worry about.

On March 6, 2018 the NH House voted 171-144 in favor House Bill (HB) 1264; a bill that specifically focuses on the definitions and differences between “domiciled” versus “resident”. The bill specifies that a voter must be a “resident” of the state in order to be able to vote. To classify as a resident the voter must have a NH driver’s license or a car registered in the state. Contrary to popular belief, the bill will not take effect during the upcoming elections.

The definitions of these words being specifically classified will make it harder for out of state students to vote as most who come from out of state typically don’t register their cars in state or file for a NH driver’s license.

NextGen America is a political activist organization who, this year, is working on “register[ing], motivat[ing], and turn[ing] out more than 250,000 young people [in America] to vote,” according to their website. NextGen invited KSC students to an off campus event Thursday, August 30, to eat and sign a pledge to vote in this election

KSC junior Tara Bateman said she was at the event because it’s important to stay politically active. Tara said her reaction to finding out about HB 1264 was one of surprise. “Just because [voting as an out of state student] was an option before and whenever you take away options it’s always a surprise.”

Former State Representative of Ward 1 Joseph Stallcop said, “I think I had a problem because this, in my opinion, was mainly done in order to yank back on student votes.”

Stallcop said, “Giving people the ability and freedom to voice their opinion to voice their vote and giving them the understanding of all the options available is just the most important thing.”

New Hampshire Media Manager of NextGen America Kristen Morris said she is thankful the bill won’t affect voters until 2019. “It’s not a factor, you know, this fall. And I think, with how fired up students are, we are going to see an explosion of youth turnout,” Morris said.

Morris’ prediction follows the outcome of the voting turnout for the 2016 election compared to that of 2012. According to a study done by Tufts University the percentage of college students  in the US who turned out to vote increased from 45.1% to 48.3%.

NextGen Deputy Organizing Director Bryan Rogers said that many of the people he has spoken to on our campus and over the summer seem to be either misinformed or just outraged. “A lot of students have heard about it already and don’t necessarily know the specifics about it and a lot of students are telling me ‘oh well I can’t vote here this fall. I have to vote back home.’”

Bryan said for out of state students, it makes little sense to have them go home to cast a vote in a place they won’t be living for the next four years.

Stallcop likewise said, “With people coming here and living here… we have to follow the laws of NH so basically you are forced to follow laws by being in a location but having no say in those laws at all.”

Stallcop said his problem with the voting changes isn’t that students won’t be able to vote. “My issue is; could they go ahead and do an absentee ballot? Yes. I think the issue is [that] it’s making things more difficult,” Stallcop said.

NextGen invited KSC students to eat and sign a pledge to vote this election at an off campus event Thursday, August 30.

NextGen also had set up a table in the LP. Young Student Center during the first-year Welcome Days. Their goal on campus was to educate and inform students about HB 1268 and to ask for students’ signatures and to pledge to vote in this 2018 election.

Sebastien Mehegan

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