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No Vote for NH College Students? Voting Bill Gets Hearing Today

February 24, 2011

CONCORD, N.H. - College students from around New Hampshire are expected at the Statehouse today, most to show their opposition to a bill that proposes to alter their voting rights.

If House Bill 176 is enacted, students and military members would not be allowed to vote in the towns or districts where they attend school, but rather where they resided last.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Gregory Sorg, R-Easton, is drawing strong opposition from students of every political stripe, says Richard Sunderland, president of the Dartmouth College Republicans.

"We are the people who are on the ground of every campaign. We are the people who are phone banking, we are sign waving, we are getting involved. To take away our ability to vote in the election, I think, really hampers the reason in the first place to get involved with these campaigns and to show an interest in politics."

Proponents of the bill say the measure would help to eliminate voter fraud in the state, but Rep. David Pierce, D-Etna, says it violates the state constitution.

"Our first duty is to uphold the constitution. If we abdicate our duty to uphold the constitution, then what are we doing here?"

Hearing for the bill is scheduled for 2 p.m. today at the Statehouse.

Calls to Sorg's office for comment had not been returned by filing time for this report.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - NH