NH voting law moves ahead, but without associated fraud penalty
NASHUA — In a "truncated hearing," a judge in Nashua has allowed a contested law to stand, but without associated penalties for alleged fraud.
Senate Bill 3 "is entitled a presumption of constitutionality," according to court documents released after Monday's hearing before Judge Charles S.Temple.
The move comes as voters in Belmont and Laconia go to the polls Tuesday for a special election to fill the District 9 representatives seat vacated by Robert Fisher. Fisher resigned over accusations that he started the Red Pill forum, which calls itself a "discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men."
Senate Bill 3 dealt with the definition of a voter's domicile. The plaintiff's in a lawsuit, the League of Women Voters and the New Hampshire Democratic Party, were concerned the law may deter voter registration.
The court held a hearing on the request for the preliminary injunction Monday in Nashua. Attorneys filed an injunction to prevent the law from taking effect, filing an emergency motion to dismiss it "based on lack of standing."
Gov. John Sununu signed SB3 on July 10 which modified the definition of domicile for voting purposes, and changed the requirements for documenting that domicile.
Though the judge who sat at Monday's hearing did not prevent the temporary stop, he did order that there would not be an associated fraud penalty of $5,000 or a year in jail, calling them "severe restrictions on the right to vote," according to court documents.
Also in the documents, the court declared "after today’s hearing it became clear to the court that a full evidentiary hearing will be needed on this matter in order to decide the propriety of preliminary injunctive relief. Accordingly, the court will schedule a full evidentiary hearing on the matter as the docket permits."