House Republicans Pull Support for Election Information Portal Bill

Print More

Paula Tracy photo

Deputy Speaker Steve Smith is pictured in the foreground of this file photo.

CONCORD – House Republicans have refused to sign off on the Committee of Conference report on SB 70, upsetting some lawmakers who saw the bill as modernizing New Hampshire voting.

Rep. Ross Berry, R-Manchester, was replaced on the committee by Deputy Speaker Steve Smith, R-Charlestown, at the last minute. Smith was the only “no” vote of the seven-member committee, keeping it from getting the required seven signatures on the report, killing the bill for this session year. All signatures were due late Thursday afternoon.

“A detailed plan implementing the (election information) portal was stricken and replaced by a simple directive to the Secretary of State to just do it,” Smith said explaining his no vote to “I don’t want the legislature cut out of the process.”

Berry said he was replaced on the committee because he couldn’t make it back in time after the committee recessed.

According to the bill: “It is the intent of the legislature to modernize the application processes for new voter registration, requesting absentee ballots, and requesting changes to name, domicile, and party affiliation in the statewide voter database.”

Besides directing the Secretary of State to establish an election information portal, SB 70 would have allowed grants to be given to cities and towns to buy election equipment.

Committee of Conference conferee, Rep. Angela Brennan, D-Bow, released the following statement:

“Despite unanimous support in the Senate, bipartisan support in the House, a bipartisan agreement in Committee of Conference to support municipalities seeking new ballot counting devices, and despite overwhelming support from voters and election officials, House Republican leadership dug their heels in and refused to allow the Election Portal bill —sponsored by Senate Republicans— to successfully reach the Governor’s desk for signature. 

“This simple but significant modernization request from voters and trusted local election officials would increase efficiency and checklist accuracy, save money and time, offered voters the same basic convenience they are afforded when they conduct secure banking and business transactions online, and maintain local election official oversight,” Brennan said.

Comments are closed.