Updates on Voter ID in New Hampshire and Wisconsin

Back in June, I wrote about New Hampshire Governor Lynch vetoing a Voter ID bill.

Yesterday the New Hampshire State Senate voted on whether to override or sustain the governor’s veto. From the Union Leader:

The Senate sided with Gov. John Lynch Wednesday in supporting his veto of a bill that would have required voters to show a photo ID before voting.

The Senate voted 17-7 to sustain Lynch in his stance against Senate Bill 129. Senate President Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, and Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, were among those voting to sustain the veto.

Both Bragdon and Bradley voted for the bill, the first time around. Since then, they’ve undoubtedly been getting an earful from town clerks, who are opposed to the measure.

Town clerks said the provisional ballots would force extra work on their offices, with longer hours, additional staff, late counting and less ballot secrecy for voters.

The issue of how this was all going to be paid for was another complication, though one not mentioned by the Union Leader. So, for now, the state legislature must still find a way to solve the non-existent problem of voter fraud.

In June, I also wrote about the problems being created by a voter ID law in Wisconsin. This week, a memo from the Wisconsin DOT has come to light.

An internal memo from a top Department of Transportation official instructs workers at Division of Motor Vehicles service centers not to tell members of the public that they can obtain voter identification cards free of charge — unless they know to ask for it.

The memo, recently obtained by The Capital Times, was written by Steve Krieser and sent to all state Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles employees on July 1, the same day employees were to begin issuing photo IDs in accordance with a controversial new voter photo ID law adopted earlier in the year.

and

“While you should certainly help customers who come in asking for a free ID to check the appropriate box, you should refrain from offering the free version to customers who do not ask for it,” Krieser writes to employees.

This sure doesn’t sound like a state that is concerned about preventing voter fraud. It sounds more like the actions of a state determined to prevent voting:

In the meantime, Krieser says the Department of Transportation is planning to place signs at each of the DMV service offices that say people need to check the box on the form in order to receive an ID for free. He says the signs are “in the design phase” and could not give a date when they would be placed in DMV offices.

After November 6, 2012, perhaps?

NH Budget Cuts Come Home to Roost

Last week, I wrote about how the latest NH state budget has resulted in at least 450 jobs lost, so far.

This week, there’s some magical thinking afoot in the Granite State. From The Conway Daily Sun:

New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing no longer plowing some roads between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. as well as allowing snow to build up to between 5 and 7 inches before turning some crews out onto the road.

The DOT plan is not acceptable, according to Rep. Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett, who also serves as the chair of the transportation department in the New House of Representatives. He hopes DOT officials will come up with a new plan because the current one could have “huge ramifications” on tourism and revenue for the Granite State.

and

Boynton said DOT lost 42 employees to budget cuts (there remain about 800 employees). Its budget was cut 11.5 percent; the budget is expected to be cut an additional 11 percent in 2012 and 13 percent in 2013; there was a 25 percent reduction in the state’s sand and salt budget.

In the northern part of the state, winter can last a solid 6 months. An 11.5 percent budget cut to DOT is huge in a state in northern New England. How could anyone realistically think that cutting the DOT budget would NOT adversely affect winter plowing?

Chandler is serving his 13th term. He is Speaker pro Tempore, which means he’s part of Speaker O’Brien’s leadership team.

This is a budget that Chandler supported. He shilled for it. He voted for it. Gene Chandler never challenged his party, never stood up and said that a budget that cuts both revenue and spending will lead to problems for our state. He said nothing until one of those cuts came home to roost in his own district, and suddenly it’s “not acceptable.”

Stories like this will continue to happen, as the impact of those budget cuts hit home in all manner of unpleasant ways.