HOUSE BILL 386
AN ACT relative to challenges of voters.
SPONSORS: Rep. Fields, Belk 2
COMMITTEE: Election Law
This bill establishes requirements for challenging a voter, including a challenge affidavit.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nine
AN ACT relative to challenges of voters.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Challenge of Voter; Affidavit. RSA 659:27 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:
659:27 Challenge of Voter; Affidavit.
I. Any voter, at his or her polling place, and any challenger appointed pursuant to RSA 666:4 or RSA 666:5 at any state election may challenge any other voter offering to vote at such election.
II. Any challenge to a voter offering to vote shall occur at the voter check-in table, where the voter receives a ballot.
III. The moderator shall not receive the vote of the person so challenged until the person shall sign and give to the moderator an affidavit in the following form: I,__________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I am the identical person whom I represent myself to be, that I am a duly qualified voter of this town (or ward),and have a legal domicile therein.
IV. Any voter who challenges the qualification of another voter to cast a vote in a state election, shall make a challenge affidavit to the moderator, in the following form:
INFORMATION ON THE PERSON MAKING THE CHALLENGE
Name of Person Making the Challenge:
Last Name First Name Middle Name/initial
If person making a challenge is a voter: Physical Address – Street Name & Number
If person is a political party or attorney general appointee: mailing address & phone number
INFORMATION ON THE VOTER BEING CHALLENGED: The person making the challenge shall complete the following:
Name being used by the voter who you wish to challenge:
Last Name First Name Middle Name
GROUNDS FOR THE CHALLENGE: The person making the challenge shall indicate the ground on which the challenge is made (check all grounds that apply).
___ The person seeking to vote is not the individual whose name he or she has given
___ The person seeking to vote has already voted in the election at (name polling place) ____________ at approximately (state time if known) __________
___ The person seeking to vote is disqualified as a voter by conviction of a willful violation of the elections laws (state offense, court, and date of conviction) _______________________________________
___ The person seeking to vote is under 18 years of age
___ The person seeking to vote is not a United States Citizen
___ The person seeking to vote is not domiciled in the town or ward where he or she is seeking to vote (state persons true domicile — street address and town/city) _____________________________________
___ The person seeking to vote is a convicted felon who is currently sentenced to incarceration (state name of institution person is in, home confinement, halfway house placement, work release or escaped from) _________________________________________
___ This is a primary and the person seeking to vote in the (state political party name) __________ primary is not a declared member of the party he or she claims to be affiliated with
TO BE COMPLETED BY THE MODERATOR: Ruling on the challenge:
If the ground at issue is age, citizenship, or domicile: The supervisors of the checklist have ruled that the challenged voter is: qualified as a voter; not qualified as a voter.
The moderator rules on challenges based on other grounds. The Moderator rules that the challenge is: well grounded; not well grounded. If it is ruled that the voter is not qualified or that the challenge is well grounded, the challenged person may vote only if he or she completes and swears to a challenged votes affidavit.
V. No voter or appointed challenger shall challenge a person’s qualifications to be a voter at the election day voter registration table.
2 Absentee Ballots; Announcement by Moderator and Challenges. Amend RSA 659:50 and RSA 659:51 to read as follows:
659:50 Announcement by Moderator. The moderator shall begin processing absentee ballots by clearly announcing that he or she is about to open the envelopes which were delivered to him or her. The moderator shall then remove the affidavit envelope containing the ballots of each absentee voter and shall compare the signature on the affidavit envelope with the signature on the application for the ballot. If:
I. The name of the voter is on the checklist, except for voters provided for in RSA 7:46; and
II. The affidavit on the envelope appears to be properly executed; and
III. The signature on the affidavit appears to be executed by the same person who signed the application; and
IV. The signatures appear to be the signatures of a duly qualified voter who has not voted at the election; then the moderator shall publicly announce the name of the absentee voter, except for voters provided for in RSA 7:46. If these conditions are not met, the moderator shall follow the procedure provided in RSA 659:53.
659:51 Challenges. All absentee ballots are subject to challenge after the moderator publicly announces the name of the absentee voter, except for voters provided for in RSA 7:46, but not after the ballot is removed from the envelope. A person who makes a challenge shall state the reason for the challenge. If the ballot is challenged, the moderator shall write on the affidavit envelope containing the ballot the word “challenged” and the name and address of the person who makes the challenge and the basis of the challenge. The moderator shall also number each challenged envelope consecutively by marking, for example, the first challenged ballot “Challenged Ballot No. 1”. The moderator shall then determine if the challenge to the ballot is well grounded. If the moderator decides the challenge is well grounded, [
he] the moderator shall not open the envelope but shall preserve it with the other ballots cast at the election as provided in RSA 659:101. If the moderator decides that the challenge is not well grounded, [ he] the moderator shall open the affidavit envelope so the affidavit thereon is not destroyed and proceed first to mark on the reverse of the folded ballot the corresponding challenge number as previously marked on the envelope. [ He] The moderator shall then proceed to deposit the ballot as provided in RSA 659:52.
3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.