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Election Finally Over: No Rest for Voting-Rights Advocates

New Hampshire voting-rights advocates will be following up on reports of long lines and any other Election Day 2016 issues with an eye to recommending changes to modernize the system. (Mike Clifford)
New Hampshire voting-rights advocates will be following up on reports of long lines and any other Election Day 2016 issues with an eye to recommending changes to modernize the system. (Mike Clifford)
November 9, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. - If you were one of the Granite Staters who stood in a long line to cast your ballot, voting-rights advocates will be tracking what happened this year on Election Day to urge lawmakers to make changes for future elections.

There were limited problems with voters being turned away in the primary, said Devon Chaffee, executive director of the ACLU of New Hampshire, and now they'll follow up on reports of any irregularities in yesterday's balloting.

Chaffee said she hopes lawmakers follow the lead of other states and get to work on changes that would modernize the election process "to make it easier for all people to vote - whether or not you're elderly, whether or not you have a disability, whether or not you have significant constraints on your time because you're a caregiver; you have limited flexibility in your workplace."

The ACLU of New Hampshire's legal director was on call on Election Day to field calls about problems at polling places. The group referred anyone who felt they had been denied the right to vote to the Attorney General's Office Election Day toll-Free hotline, 1-866-868-3703.

Chaffee said modernizing the process also would help those people who work at the polling places.

"For the good of election officials and poll workers, we need to be making their job as easy as possible," she said, "and we need to be looking to them to see what they need in order to do their job."

Chaffee said they'll be following up on polling places where voters waited in long lines.

"Long lines are always a problem, because you worry about people who aren't able to spend hours at a polling place," she said, "and when those people turn away, that is a form of voter disenfranchisement."

She said important measures such as online voter registration and electronic poll books can reduce lengthy waits at the polls, make it easier for eligible voters to cast their ballots and ease the burdens on local election officials.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH