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NH Voting-Rights Advocates Push for Online Registration

This article was originally published by Public News Service

Lawmakers in New Hampshire are considering a bill to create an online "election information portal" to help ease some of the burdens on voters and poll workers.

Senate Bill 70 would allow residents to register to vote online, request absentee ballots and update their contact information.

Liz Tentarelli, president of the League of Women Voters-New Hampshire, called it a logical next step to help increase young voter turnout.

"They want to be part of the process," Tentarelli pointed out. "Let's give them a way to register in a way that makes sense to them, so they can be part of the process and be lifelong voters from then on."

The bill passed the Senate with bipartisan support, but some lawmakers disapprove of a House amendment which would allow towns to use federal funds from the Help America Vote Act to purchase new voting machines. Tentarelli hopes lawmakers can find agreement on the bill, which has been years in the making.

Eligible voters in New Hampshire must currently register to vote by mail, or in person at their town clerk's office or polling place. Tentarelli noted online registration would help reduce long lines on Election Day and ease the workload for what are mainly volunteer poll workers.

"It will be more accurate," Tentarelli asserted. "It will take that last-minute stress off the election workers, but in no way does it compromise the integrity of the process."

Forty states along with Washington, D.C., currently allow online voter registration. If approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Chris Sununu, online registration would be available starting in January 2024, ahead of the state's presidential primary in February.