As seen on A1, 40 recent proposals to adjust many of New Hampshire’s voting laws have been submitted, one of which puts out-of-state students’ voting rights at risk. The predominantly Republican house members have submitted a bill to change the definition of a domicile. This definition would be used to decide if a person can legally vote in the state. Other proposals introduced would rid same-day voter registration, yet another bill that many students relied on this past election.
Coming to UNH my freshman year, I had a hard time leaving home. I never expected Durham to feel like home, nor to feel such pride for the state of New Hampshire. Now, as a second semester senior, I have completely turned around, always referring to Durham as my home, and finding myself feeling more like a New Hampshire-ite every year. And this year, I felt more a part of the New Hampshire community than ever before when I was able to participate in conversation and vote for the future leaders in the state government. I care about New Hampshire policy, about issues regarding education, the environment and other topics surrounding the future of the state’s well-being.
The New Hampshire workforce is aging, and the majority of students from UNH aren’t staying in the state. Want to know how to get even less out-of-state students to stay and work here? Don’t have them invested in state issues and take away their ability to make a choice for a place they call home. If we truly want UNH graduates working in New Hampshire, making them feel included and invested in the community is key to keeping these young, educated people in the state.
If these Republicans want to truly uphold a “country first” philosophy, limiting civic engagement at a young age by making it more difficult to vote is very irresponsible. Giving students the ability to vote in state and providing easy access to polls and voting registration is the way to do it. This year, Durham had a record high voting turn out with 9,633 votes cast and 3,121 same day registrations, according to the unofficial general election results for Durham on Nov. 8, 2016. I can say with confidence that many students, especially students who registered the day of the election, would not have filled out an absentee ballot. This new proposal would undoubtedly bar many educated young-adults from their rightful American civil duty.
It’s no surprise, however, that this proposal is in place. Statewide, Clinton won 48 percent to Trump’s 47 percent, while in Durham, Clinton led with 68 percent of votes to Trump’s 26 percent. According to Seacoast Online and NHPR, this domicile dispute stems from a general heightened GOP concern regarding voter fraud, even though state officials say they have no evidence that voter fraud is a widespread problem in New Hampshire. Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time the Republican party has been shaken up by us “liberal snowflake” millennials. Let the blizzards begin.