CONCORD, NH— Today, the New Hampshire Democratic Party released a statement from Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Senator Maggie Hassan, Congresswoman Annie Kuster, and Congressman Chris Pappas on the DNC’s waiver requirements for it to participate in the pre-primary window. The DNC is mandating that New Hampshire change its early voting laws, even though New Hampshire’s Republican governor vetoed voting reforms just three years ago:
“There is no question where Democrats in New Hampshire stand on the issue of voting rights: our federal delegation has voted to expand them and ensure that no one faces barriers to the ballot box. That’s why we strongly support Senator Soucy’s legislation creating no-fault absentee voting in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, in both Washington and New Hampshire, Republicans have blocked urgently needed voting reforms every step of the way.
“Accordingly, the DNC’s demand that New Hampshire change its voting laws to hold an early primary is both unrealistic and unfairly punitive. Just three years ago, our Republican governor vetoed voting reform legislation and neither he, nor the Republican-controlled legislature, is likely to take their cues on this issue from the DNC. Even worse, the DNC’s proposed punishment of New Hampshire Democrats makes it less likely that we will be able to elect more Democrats here who will help us expand voting rights.
“We urge the DNC to understand the position that we are in and the negative consequences that their requirements will have on Democrats up and down the ticket in 2024.” In addition, Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy and Democratic leaders of the New Hampshire state legislature sent the following letter to DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee Chairs Minyon Moore and Jim Roosevelt.
Read the full letter below.
Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy's Letter to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee
To Chairs Moore and Roosevelt,
I’m writing to you in my capacity as Democratic Leader in the New Hampshire State Senate. Specifically, I’m reaching out regarding the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee’s demand that, for New Hampshire to be in the pre-primary window, the state must “expand access to early voting (e.g., by providing an option to vote before election day without an excuse).”
Consistent with the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s platform, which endorses expanded early voting, I will once again be introducing legislation to allow no-fault absentee voting in the Granite State.
Legislative Democrats have consistently championed expanded voting rights in New Hampshire. In 2019, when Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate sent a similar bill to Governor Sununu’s desk, he vetoed it.
Last year I introduced Senate Bill 427, which would have modified “the absentee voter registration process, absentee ballot application, and absentee ballot voting process” in our state. From the text:
This bill allows any voter to vote by absentee ballot at a state or local election, without a requirement that the voter be absent from the municipality or unable to vote in person for another reason. It also allows the moderator to authorize the partial processing of absentee ballots before election day.
This effort to expand voting rights will be cosponsored by all nine of my Democratic colleagues in the State Senate in addition to the Democratic leaders in our State House. While our state already has one of the highest voter participation rates of any in the nation- over 74% in 2020- this legislation once again shows Democrat’s commitment to expanding access further. We believe our support for this legislation honors the spirit of the DNC’s requirements.
However, as Chairman Buckley and our federal delegation have explained previously, Democrats likely do not have the power to change our election laws, as Republicans control the House, Senate, and governorship. Given Governor Sununu’s 2019 veto, it is highly unlikely that he and the Republicans will change course now because of demands from the DNC.
We believe that the strong Democratic support for no-fault absentee voting shows New Hampshire Democrats’ commitment to the goals laid out by the DNC. Punishing New Hampshire Democrats, who have no ability to address voting laws in the face of a Republican trifecta in the state, could have dire consequences for Democrats up and down the ticket in 2024.
We hope you take this legislation and our efforts to expand voting access into consideration during this process.
Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy
Senator Cindy Rosenwald Senator David Watters Senator Lou D’Allesandro Senator Rebecca Perkins Kwoka Senator Becky Whitley Senator Sue Prentiss Senator-Elect Donovan Fenton Senator-Elect Debra Altschiller Senator Shannon Chandley Representative Matt Wilhelm, House Democratic Leader Representative Alexis Simpson, Deputy Democratic Leader Representative Karen Ebel, Democratic Leader Pro Tempore Representative Lucy Weber, Democratic Floor Leader Representative Josh Adjutant, Deputy Democratic Floor Leader Representative David E. Cote, Senior Democratic Advisor Representative Sharon Nordgren, Senior Democratic Advisor Representative Mary Jane Wallner, Senior Democratic Advisor Representative Brian Sullivan, Democratic Advisor Representative Laura Telerski, Democratic Advisor