Forum, July 28: New Hampshire’s HB 1264 Is a Poll Tax

Monday, July 30, 2018
HB 1264 Is a Poll Tax

HB 1264, which New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu recently signed into law, is a poll tax on all Granite Staters, as it forces those who wish to vote in New Hampshire to pay vehicle registration fees and obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license in order to demonstrate residency. It specifically attacks college students for exercising their right to vote in the state in which they live. However, this bill does not take effect until 2019, so this election is our last chance to stop the Republican plan to rig elections to ensure that they never lose their power.

We must stand up to the blatant attempts at voter suppression by our Legislature. Students spend the majority of their time here, and they deserve to have a say in how they are governed. New Hampshire has an aging problem; if we want to encourage young people to stay in our state after college and engage in their communities, we need to make it easier, not harder, for them to perform their civic duty.

We specifically need to stand up for our values. Sununu lied when he said he would never support any legislation that would suppress the student vote, and he should be held accountable for breaking his word. I hope you will join me in showing Republicans that we will not tolerate the destruction of our free and fair elections.

Garrett Muscatel


The writer is a Dartmouth College student and a candidate for the New Hampshire House.

The Real Donald Trump

Those who were paying attention shouldn’t have been surprised by President Donald Trump’s remarks following the Helsinki summit. He was playing up to the most important person to him at the moment, Russian President Vladimir Putin. That’s what Trump’s always done, play up to whomever he sees as his best asset.

Donald Trump doesn’t care about your job, your health care, the economy or global warming. He only cares about Donald Trump and whatever will benefit him financially. Look at how he “drained the swamp” in Washington by appointing people from Wall Street. Look at when he first threatened China with tariffs, and sanctions on one specific Chinese technology company, and shortly after the Chinese granted his daughter sought-after Chinese patents, he backed off sanctioning the company. So why be surprised when he supports the Russian president, as he has business interests in the country?

Unfortunately, many people were taken in by Trump’s campaign rhetoric and are slow to realize that he cares nothing about them.

He wants to run this country like one of his businesses, rewarding those who blindly do what he wants, firing and trashing those who don’t, and expanding his financial empire. With hope, those misled Americans are learning who Trump really is, and will help us return this country to a normal democracy.

Stephen Raymond


Promoting Cooperation On Mt. Ascutney Name

I saw the article about the proposed renaming of Mount Ascutney (“Towns: Keep Ascutney Name,” July 12). I can only speak for the Nulhegan tribe, which is recognized by the state of Vermont as an Abenaki tribe.

Nulhegan did not initiate this renaming controversy, so we ask that no ill will be harbored toward our citizens by those who oppose changing the name.

We are always thankful to supporters who care about our Abenaki people and try to recognize the original peoples of this land. I would suggest that the current inhabitants who live around Pemapskadena (Mount Ascutney) promote educational opportunities to learn about the Abenaki people, or have a plaque that would teach about Mount Ascutney in regards to the Abenaki, rather than renaming the mountain.

I would rather promote partnerships and cooperation in positive ways than have so much controversy and anxiety over this renaming issue.

I believe that there is an opportunity to have a positive outcome for both sides if we all work together. I am but one voice and speak only for our Nulhegan tribe.

Waolowzi (be very well).

Don Stevens

Shelburne, Vt.

The writer is chief of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk-Abenaki Nation.

Dawn of the Unread

A recent article in the Valley News, reported that Americans’ interest in “reading for pleasure” is on the decline. (“Leisure Reading in the U.S. Is at an All-Time Low,” July 1). But I have found that lack of interest goes beyond recreational reading choices.

During the most recent presidential campaign, and guided by uncertainty, I began an informal poll. When I saw one of those red “Make America Great Again” hats, I asked its wearer, “When are you shooting for?” The man beneath the cap — it was always a man — would give me a quizzical look and respond, “What?”

I explained: “The hat. When was America greater than now?”

Judging from their confused look, I might as well have asked the meaning of the Nike swoosh. So I began to ask a different question: “What was the last thing you read?” The answers were no better.

I’ve long since abandoned the hat, as have most former wearers, and have shifted my focus toward the source of Americans’ information. Not surprisingly, about one in 10 will admit to reading on a regular basis.

As far as news goes, smartphones trumped all; newspapers ranked lowest. Locally, I sometimes heard, “I don’t read that liberal, fake-news Valley News” (sorry Upper Valley journalists), even if a recent issue contained an article mentioning them. Disappointing, but true.

I read somewhere that, in the time of Lincoln, newspapers were written on the level of a high school reader. Now, it’s somewhere around fifth grade. And that downward spiral in comprehension is coupled with a similar slide in curiosity.

Despite the fact that virtually every American gets a free, 12-year public education, which includes the ability to monitor current events, many routinely avoid doing so. So, how do they make their choices on Election Day? On looks? Intuition? Guesswork?

It seems to me that the majority of Americans are making important, life-altering decisions without basing them on fact or reliable information — much like zombies.

Ralph Epifanio