HB595 – Voter ID

I felt the need to write about my vote today on HB595, which repealed portions of the voting laws passed last session. It probably looks like I’ve flip-flopped, or am trying to have it both ways. I always try to be as honest and clear as possible with the voters of this district, so bear with me here. Last session I voted for the Voter ID law. I did so because I believed that it was the right thing to do. I still do. I have not changed my position.

2013 is a different world. Democrats own the House and the Executive branch. Considering that at least one Republican Senator still in office voted against the Voter ID bill last session, it would have been a good gamble for Democrats to grab some headlines, swing for the fences, and repeal the whole thing. 

They may have succeeded. The worst case scenario probably would have been to face some amendments in the Senate, and in the end, pass something similar to what we had today. Instead, a compromise was presented, and I applaud House Democrats for going this route. Since it was the best we could hope for, and a genuine compromise, I chose to support it.

HB595 leaves in place the existing Voter ID provisions, and simply repeals the portions of the laws that have not yet taken effect. The voting laws passed last session were to be phased- in over several years. Even though this bill was not the outcome that I desired, I recognize that this is the honorable way to conduct House business.

In the interest of full disclosure, should other bills tightening our voting process arise, I will probably support them. I believe that each person’s vote is too important a thing to risk by having even one improperly cast vote negate yours. I believe that Voter ID laws are the best way to ensure that we adhere to the principle of “one (wo)man”, one vote”. Allowing the status quo to go on for a while may in fact give folks time to get used to the changes, and then make other laws more palatable and the GOP position stronger. Time will tell.


About Rep. Steven Smith

Steven Smith is a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving his 7th term. Rep. Smith currently represents Charlestown, Newport, and Unity. Rep. Smith is the Deputy Speaker of the NH House.
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