Democrats sue New Hampshire over GOP-backed election law

President Joe Biden’s campaign is backing the lawsuit. Senior officials on the team said they are concerned the legislation could affect critical voting blocs in the battleground state in the 2024 election, especially young people, college students and low-income voters.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that we should be making it easier, not harder, for every eligible American voter to participate in our democracy. New Hampshire’s law flies in the face of that belief, and is a chilling and unacceptable embrace of the election fraud hysteria championed by Donald Trump,” said Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez. “In an election that could very well determine the fate of our democracy, it is our imperative to fight for the right to vote. This is just the beginning.”

Biden campaign officials said that 75,000 voters in New Hampshire registered in person and voted on Election Day in 2020. It is not clear how many of those people registered without an ID, since at the time, those voters could still cast a regular ballot as long as they filled out a form that attested to their identity.

But a senior Biden campaign aide, who was granted anonymity to discuss a pending legal issue, said the team anticipated that “thousands” of voters could be impacted by the new law.

This is the second lawsuit this year filed by the DNC challenging what the party saw as a law that makes it harder for people to vote, following
a suit in October
involving North Carolina legislation.

Top Biden campaign officials said a key part of their legal strategy in 2024 will be taking on voting laws they say are overly restrictive — and, crucially, can be litigated and resolved before the November election. Republicans nationally have defended more stringent measures as necessary to prevent rare cases of voter fraud.

New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan defended the law in a statement: “We know from our experience requiring all voters to present an ID in order to obtain a ballot when they check-in at the polls, that only a small fraction of a percent do not have an acceptable form of ID. The very few voters affected can still vote after completing an affidavit.”

Biden campaign officials said the suit in New Hampshire is aimed at winning relief ahead of the general election, not the primary, where Biden is facing a challenge from Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.).

The DNC, along with the New Hampshire Democratic Party, argue in their suit that the law violates a state constitutional provision that requires that local officials count votes and then submit them “sealed up and directed to the secretary of state, within five days following the election.” They also argue the law violates New Hampshire voters’ due process rights.

When signing the bill, Gov. Chris Sununu put out a statement downplaying concerns that it would imperil voters or cause delays.

“New Hampshire’s elections have been, and will continue to be safe, reliable and accurate — and this bill won’t change these facts,” he said last year.

The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union had
previously challenged this law
in state court, arguing that it violated Americans’ right to a private ballot. Interest groups in the state also challenged the law, raising state constitutional concerns. Those lawsuits were eventually combined and then dismissed for a lack of standing last month.