Sununu Concerned About Implementing Controversial Voting Bill Before Elections

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Gov. Chris Sununu spoke to reporters in his office at the State House Wednesday.


CONCORD – A bill that would eliminate all new voter identification exceptions at the polls this fall is on its way to the governor’s desk but he sounded unlikely to sign it on Wednesday, citing the tight time frame for implementation before a Presidential election.

House Bill 1569, sponsored by former Supreme Court Chief Justice and current state Rep. Robert Lynn, R-Windham, passed the House on a vote of 189-185 and the Senate 13-11 along party lines.

A copy of the bill is here 

Louise Spencer, co-founder of the Kent Street Coalition, and other groups held a rally to oppose this bill and another that was killed in the last day of the session saying that it would disenfranchise votes. 

Sununu told reporters after the Executive Council meeting in his office “my biggest concern over that bill is implementation. You know, how could it actually be implemented in a couple of months.

“I don’t have an actual problem with the actual bill and its process. I think the folks that designed and came forward with it make it very clear it’s only for new registrations,” Sununu said.

The bill would require new voter registrations to produce documents proving their citizenship or they would not be allowed to vote.

It does not impact those already on the voting list but it changes a current affidavit system that allows people without identification to still vote but come back within a week with their information to allow their vote to count.

“I will definitely take a look but how do you actually get to applying that and getting the training underway for all those individuals, the town moderators, the clerks, the election officials so they know how to implement it without overloading our system with questions. Anytime you make a significant change, I am more on the, the policy is important of course, but I’m, at this point you know it is a presidential year. If you want to change election law, that’s fine, you can have that discussion. I firmly believe it should be done in a non-election year and definitely not done in a non-Presidential election year just to make sure you are not adding just another element of uncertainty in the system,” he said.

Sununu said he loves the Secretary of State’s optimism that it could be implemented “but it’s a lot of these small towns, would they participate in the training, would they get the training…how would challenges to it actually be handled, that is a lot to ask any system to pull off successfully in a state that I believe is going to be a close race, at least on the presidential side and maybe other races as well. So, it’s just another element of concern you bring in at the last minute. So, we will take a look at it.”


Sununu said he believes a lot of folks will be tuning in to Thursday night’s Presidential Debate, including him. 

Many will be there at least for the reality TV content “but we hope that people will stay for the substance,” as former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee and President Joe Biden take the stage without an audience at 9 p.m. in Atlanta.

He said he thinks both debate moderators, CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash “are terrific” and the format could provide surprising reactions among the polar-different candidates who will have their first one-on-one encounter, historically early in the election cycle.

He said the dynamic of not having a crowd there is an asset to both of them and he thought both will do well.

“I’m going to be really watching their body language. Right? The body language in a debate can sometimes tell you what they are thinking, their emotional confidence…regardless of what the answer might be saying,” he said.

The plan is to mute the microphone of either candidate who is not being asked the question.

“I imagine both will be fairly restrained and over perform to expectations,” Sununu said.

He has endorsed Trump after campaigning with Republican rival Nikki Haley who came in second in New Hampshire.

Sununu said he did not think the primary process is broken and he tells people to vote in the primary.

He said it’s really too late for Biden to step aside and if it is seen as a panic move now it would backfire.


The governor signed a bill adding more money into the state settlement fund which totals $160 million. More than 1,400 people have said they were abused as minors at the former Youth Development Center in Manchester, now known as the Sununu Youth Services Center. 

Originally the fund was $100 million.

Sununu said he hoped that hundreds of people who are applying for a settlement will be added to by others who want a quick settlement without being tangled in the law.

“There is a lot of money out there,” Sununu said. “We are trying to make the process fast and simple as opposed to getting caught up in the legal system for years and years and years. Because then as they say ‘justice delayed is justice denied.'”

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