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Sununu: NH OK with vote-by-mail in November

  • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, right, examines bedding packets as he tours a makeshift medical facility with N.H. Army National Guard Col. David Mikolaities, center, and N.H.A.N.G. Col. Erik Fessenden, left, at a gymnasium at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. The facility, and others across the state, will open when there is demand for patients impacted with COVID-19. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Washington Post
Published: 4/9/2020 9:05:07 PM
Modified: 4/9/2020 9:19:51 PM

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced Thursday that the state will allow voters to cast mail-in ballots in the November general election if coronavirus is still a factor this fall.

The decision is a significant departure from Sununu’s past stance against widespread absentee voting and stands in contrast to the rhetoric coming from some Republicans, including President Donald Trump.

“Basically if you feel more comfortable voting absentee because of the outbreak or your inability or nervousness about just appearing in person to vote, you can vote absentee and obtain an absentee ballot,” Sununu said at a news conference.

Sununu said the state is considering other voting alternatives as well, including “drive-up voting” in which voters would not have to leave their vehicles.

Trump this week denounced mail-in voting, alleging without evidence that it allowed for widespread voter fraud. His comments came after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Democrats in Wisconsin who sought to allow voters to mail in ballots rather than vote in person during the coronavirus crisis.

When pressed for examples of it happening, Trump responded, “Well, we’re going to find out about the proof because you’re going to see what’s going on and I’m not going to stand for it.”

New Hampshire has some of the most restrictive voting laws in the country, making it a target of lawsuits from civil rights groups and Democrats.

On Thursday, voting rights advocates won a significant victory when the New Hampshire Supreme Court struck down a Sununu-signed law that restricted students attending college in the state from registering to vote there unless they have a permanent New Hampshire address or driver’s license.

While more than half the states, including almost all the so-called political battlegrounds, allow no-excuse-needed absentee voting, New Hampshire does not. To vote by mail in the state, a voter needs to provide a reason, such as illness or travel restraints.

The state Legislature passed a bill last year to allow all residents to vote by mail regardless of reason. Sununu vetoed it.

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