September 05, 2012REGION — Voters in next Tuesday's state Primary will find a slight change in procedures when they enter their local polling places to decide on party candidates for governor, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, State senate and representatives and several county races.
Tilton Town Clerk/Tax Collector Cindy Reinartz said that with the passage of House Bill 1354, also known as the Voter I.D. bill, voters will now be asked for photo identification when they arrive at the polls on Sept. 11.
"The new law will phase-in this change during the Primary," said Reinartz.
Cindy Caveney of Northfield said the upcoming primary will be a "learning curve" for both voters, Supervisors of the Checklist and other election officials as the new law is enacted.
"Ballot clerks will actually have a heavier burden on them as we work through the change, and people will need to be patient, but we'll get through this," said Caveney.
A broad number of photo I.D. cards will be accepted this first time around, which will include driver's licenses, work or student I.D. cards, passports and more.
For next week's balloting, visual recognition of a voter by election officials will also suffice for a temporary verification of residency.
"That list of what we can accept will go down by the General Election in November, though, when people will all hopefully have the appropriate I.D.," Caveney said.
Belmont's Town Clerk/Tax Collector, Cynthia DeRoy, explained that during the Primary, those who do not possess an acceptable photo identification card will be given a voucher to take to any New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicle office where I.D.'s are issued.
"They'll be able to use that voucher to get a free voter I.D. card from DMV before the General Election. If they have any issues about doing that, they can let us know now so we can help them. The Attorney General's office is very willing to work with people to make sure they can vote," said DeRoy.
Sanbornton's Town Clerk/Tax Collector said another duty for the Supervisors of the Check List during this Primary election will be to track how many people lack the proper identification and then report that information to the Attorney General's office so they can get a grasp on how broad of an issue this may be in the future.
In some towns, election officials are making a variety of changes in the entrance to polls. Some will have ballot clerks check I.D., note it on their checklist and hand out the state's Explanatory Document if they do not have a photo I.D., while others will be outside making people aware of the changes before they enter the polls.
For the General Election in November, those still without an acceptable photo I.D. will be asked to sign a Challenged Voter Affadavit, swearing they are residents of the town before they cast their vote.
Those voting by absentee ballot are not required to provide voter identification at this time, although DeRoy said those who have come to Belmont's Town Hall to pick up a ballot have been asked to prove their identity.
"We've been photo copying their driver's license or whatever they have right now, but there really is no clear regulations on that yet," DeRoy said.
Polling times and places in the Winnisquam region next Tuesday are: Belmont, 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Belmont High School gym; Northfield, 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Pines Community Center; Sanbornton, 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. in the Old Town Hall; and Tilton, 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. in the Winnisquam Regional High School cafetorium.