First on NH1 News: NextGen launches campaign targeting GOP push to tighten states voting laws
CONCORD – The political wing of a major progressive public advocacy group is kicking off a grassroots organizing and digital campaign to mobilize young voters in New Hampshire to protest a move by Granite State Republicans to pass a bill that would tighten the state’s voting laws.
NH1 News has learned that the NextGen Climate Action Committee on Tuesday is launching a five-figure digital ad buy targeting a much argued about GOP bill that’s already passed the state Senate.
The campaign is kicking off a couple of hours before the state House of Representatives Election Law Committee holds a work session hearing on the bill. The panel’s expected to vote on the measure (officially known as SB3) in the next couple of weeks, which would likely be followed by a vote by the entire House.
The spot starts with a clip from what appears to be a Feb. 13 NH1 News interview with Gov. Chris Sununu, in which New Hampshire’s first Republican governor in a dozen years says “I do not believe that we have widespread voter fraud here in New Hampshire.”
The governor was reacting to unsubstantiated claims made a week earlier from President Trump of massive voter fraud across the country in November’s election, including the busing of people from Massachusetts to vote in New Hampshire, to take advantage of the state’s same day registration law
The ad then uses audio clips from leading state Democratic lawmakers who are critical of the bill, arguing that the measure will make it harder to vote, and will target low-income voters and college students. The commercial ends with the message “Tell Gov. Sununu: Say NO to Senate Bill 3.”
Sununu is very supportive of the push to tighten the state’s voting laws.
NH1 News has learned that the spot will run on social media, popular websites, and a new microsite that will also launch Tuesday. NextGen says the microsite will provide New Hampshire voters with information on SB 3 and how their representatives voted on the bill.
“The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy, but New Hampshire Republicans want to steal that right from some of their fellow citizens,” NextGen Climate President Tom Steyer said in a statement.
“We will make sure every citizen in New Hampshire is informed and has the tools they need to defend this fundamental American right. SB 3 would block many New Hampshire residents from voting, and that’s why SB 3 is anti-democratic, anti-American, and completely sickening,” he added.
In addition to the digital campaign, the group says it will mobilize a rally Tuesday afternoon at UNH in Durham as part of a drive to encourage students to contact their state representatives and hold them accountable.
NextGen Climate is one of the largest outside groups backing Democratic candidates and pro-environmental causes.
Bill’s author: ‘No one will be denied the right to vote’
The bill mandates that anyone who registers to vote either prior to or on Election Day itself, thanks to the state's same-day registration law, present definitive proof that they reside in the Granite State.
People who fail to provide such identification could still vote, but would be required to read and sign a form, and then provide proof of domicile to city and town clerks within 10 days of voting, or 30 days for towns where offices are only open once a week.
That’s a quicker time period requirement than current election law dictates. If those documents aren’t provided the deadline, provisions in the bill allow town clerks or other local officials to pay a home visit to obtain a voter’s proof of residency. Another provision that would have allowed police to knock on new voter’s doors to verify their addresses elicited a lot of push back and was removed from the bill during the Senate committee process.
The bill, which was authored by GOP Sen. Regina Birdsell, of Hampstead, passed through the state Senate two months along party lines, with all 14 Republicans supporting the measure and the nine Democrats in the chamber opposed.
Supporters say the legislation will help ensure that only people who actually live in the Granite State vote here, cutting down on what they say is voter fraud. Birdsell has repeatedly declared that “no one will be denied the right to vote” by her bill.