Contrary to What Senate Republicans Want You to Believe, Amended SB 3 Still Sends Police to Your Door – and Vigilante Groups Too

Amended Version of SB 3 Much Worse Than Original Bill

State Senator Regina Birdsell (R) told members of the Senate Election Law committee on Tuesday that she had removed the controversial police provision from SB 3. What she didn’t say is that she had removed the controversial police provision by name – and replaced it with something ten times worse.

The amended version of SB 3 uses covert language to still actually allow the supervisor of the checklist to send police to your door and now goes even further by allowing them to deputize the local town conspiracy theorist or vigilante group to do it as well. Under the amended version, as passed by Senate Republicans on the Election Law Committee, SB 3 states checklist supervisors can still send law enforcement or they can deputize “agents” to check if a voter lives at the address, which could include deputizing voter suppression activists or even vigilante groups. There is no limit on who can be designated an agent for this purpose, nor are there any provisions for proper training or how to conduct these checks; an open carry activist or an individual ideologically opposed to college students voting could be among those deputized.

SB 3 has been poorly written from the start but this latest amendment makes it ten times worse. It is shameful that Senate Republicans took credit during committee for removing the controversial police officer provision by name while simultaneously opening the back door for the same activity and worse. SB 3 is nothing more than an attack on voting rights. It creates a poll tax by requiring financial transactions for many of the verifiable acts listed, and it penalizes voters $5,000 for being a day late with paperwork even if they did nothing wrong when registering to vote. In the hours-long public hearing, testimony highlighted that the bill will disproportionately impact eligible voters including students, low-income people, homeless veterans, and domestic violence survivors.

Senate Republicans offered the amendment in committee Tuesday morning and called a vote less than 30 minutes later, purposely denying Senate Democrats and voting rights advocates an opportunity to review the language and provide feedback prior to the vote. It is unclear whether the poorly written amendment was intentional or a result of Senate Republicans jamming the bill forward without regard for public input or voter impact.

New Hampshire politicians have many more pressing issues to deal with than needlessly attacking voting rights with harmful bills like SB 3. Contact your State Senator today and tell them to reject SB 3.