New Hampshire GOP seeks to block ‘remote’ students from voting

By Christian Wade | The Center Square

College students gave Democrat Hillary Clinton an edge over Republican Donald Trump in New Hampshire during the 2016 presidential election, helping her narrowly win the state.

But as this battleground state gears up for the Nov. 3 election, the state Republican Party says some of those younger voters should not be part of the equation.

In a letter to Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, the GOP calls on the state to declare that students from out of state who are studying remotely this fall are “not eligible to vote in New Hampshire.” The party asks the AG’s office to direct local election officials to verify a current New Hampshire address before registering students to vote or providing them with an absentee ballot.

Public domain

Dartmouth Hall, of Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire.

“Because New Hampshire is a swing state, there is a great deal of incentive in a presidential election to increase the number of voters each party can get to the polls. That is salutary,” GOP attorney Sean List wrote in the Oct. 15 letter. “But for the elections to be legitimate, only qualified New Hampshire voters should be allowed to participate.”

State law allows students who are temporarily living in the Granite State to claim residence and vote, but List argues the statute doesn’t cover those studying remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The GOP is weighing a legal challenge to block election clerks from registering out-of-state students, he added, but would prefer to “avoid the disruption of litigation so close to the election.”

In response, the AG’s office said the law provides that “any person who has established a domicile in New Hampshire … but who is temporarily absent from the state by virtue of the COVID-19 pandemic or any other reason, remains domiciled in the state unless he or she establishes domicile elsewhere.”

“Once a student lawfully established his domicile in New Hampshire the student does not lose his or her domicile due to temporary absence,” Assistant District Attorney Nicholas A. Chong Yen wrote in a letter to List.

Still, he suggested that the law doesn’t allow last-minute voter registrations by out-of-state students who haven’t yet established a residency in the state.

“Thus, a person who had never established a physical residency New Hampshire cannot be domiciled in the state for voting voting purposes,” he wrote.

The state’s Democratic Party has blasted the GOP’s request as voter suppression, accusing Republicans of using “dirty tricks” to keep young voters away from the polls.

“[The] Attorney General letter confirms that this is all their latest ploy is – another trick – with no basis in law nor reality,” Holly Shulman, a spokeswoman for the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said in a statement Wednesday.

Sue Polidura, a Republican town committeewoman and state Senate candidate from Portsmouth, said she supports the party’s request to prevent out-of-state college students from voting.

“Well, if they’re not living here then they aren’t residents, so why should they be allowed to vote?” she said. “It’s common sense.”

Political observers say students are a sizable chunk of the New Hampshire electorate that helped tip the state vote to Clinton in 2016, though she ultimately lost the election nationally.

“It’s a significant bloc,” said Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. “If you take 60,000 students from the University of New Hampshire system – and about half of them go somewhere else to learn remotely and don’t vote here – the impact on the election would be huge.”

Image courtesy of Public domain

5 thoughts on “New Hampshire GOP seeks to block ‘remote’ students from voting

  1. Lots of federal case law says kids gotta be allowed to vote where they go to school. But VT Secretary of State Jim Condos claims motor vehicle law allows students to vote here without needing to get a VT driving licence or register their rigs here. Sure, motor law says a kid from, say, Illinois is not a resident just because (s)he comes here for college, but out-of-state students who register to vote swear an oath declaring they ARE residents. What Condos’ ruling does is establish a special category of VT citizenship that says students have all the rights of citizenship but are somehow exempt from the associated duties…like getting a license. That’s a violation of the constitution and I hope somebody files suit in VT court soonest.

  2. Students are either residents or they are not and it should be very simple. If they aren’t entitled to in-state tuition and are not eligible for a resident fishing license, then they are not residents and should vote absentee ballot in their home state. Now if the liberals in the legeslature are adamant that they are residents then each of these students should demand a refund of the extra tuition they are paying as non-residents. Can’t have it both ways Dems!!

    • Dave, You nailed it …..

      Let’s see if the colleges step up with the refunds……. Nah !!

      That’s why Burlington has such a liberal voting base UVM and
      Champlain students “non-residents ” renting in the City and Voting !!

      The 2020 undergraduate tuition & fees of the University of Vermont (UVT)
      are $18,802 for Vermont residents and $43,690 for out of State students,

      If UVM & Champlain non-resident students voting they need to get a refund,
      better yet go home & vote, the state wins & the colleges win ……..

      • Over the course of my life, I have watched my city go to blue and then bluer with the growth of the local college.
        There is no denying this is going on because Lifers up here have watched it happen with their own eyes.

  3. New Hampshire has had it with the Voter Fraud and the machine that protects this and keeps it all in place.
    We are all done living under what college students just passing through vote for.
    They should be voting absentee from where it is that they came from.
    Being in college is a temporary situation. If you think you are responsible enough to cast a vote then get your absentee ballot and do this the right way.
    It’s really an insult to our intelligence to try and call this anything different than what it is.. it’s all a scam to support the Democrats and we all know this.

    They are enabling these students, they need to grow the heck up and be adults and get their acts together and their absentee ballots. This is not a big deal at all but yet, as they do things now, this works for them, so of course they fight to keep this in place. But this is not right at all for the taxpayers and true residents paying the bills in the state of NH.

    We’ve had the same corrupt SoS for my entire lifetime now that protects all of this racket too and we are done with that as well.
    Every time Bill Gardner comes up for election, they run a far left radical against him so that he now looks like the normal one. We wind up voting the guy in ourselves!
    What a rigged system!!
    We’ve had it.
    Out with these crooks!!

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