Thursday, March 10, 2011

NH Drops Anti-Student Bill

NH Drops Anti-Student Voter Bill

The good news is New Hampshire is backing off on a bill that would have strictly limited student voting:
The bill would have redefined "domicile" as the town or state where students lived before moving to the campus town regardless of whether they intended to return to that town or state after graduation:

Sorg referred to students as "transient inmates . . . with a dearth of experience and a plethora of the easy self-confidence that only ignorance and inexperience can produce." He argued that his bill, HB 176 ... would end unfair domination of local elections by students. He said the state should revert to laws that were in place in the 1950s, before state and federal court decisions said students living in a town have a right to vote there.
It's like the Battle of Madison on another front: don't like the outcome of the election? Change the electorate.

That theme of "domination of local elections" popped up in the House speaker's rhetoric too... and I just remembered why from 2008:
Vanessa Sievers, a Dartmouth College junior, was not content to wait tables or make coffee as a side job. Instead she ran for treasurer of Grafton County, N.H., and won, unseating the incumbent and unleashing a war of words.

The current county treasurer, Carol Elliott, 68, called Ms. Sievers, 20, a “teenybopper” in an interview with a local newspaper, The Valley News, and said she had won only because “brainwashed college kids” had voted for the Democratic ticket.

Ms. Sievers beat Ms. Elliott by 586 votes out of about 42,000 cast, and won big in Hanover, home to Dartmouth, and Plymouth, home to both Ms. Elliott and Plymouth State University.

Sievers’s big investment in the campaign was a $51 advertisement on Facebook, which she paid for with her own money.
Hmm. Someone should try that for Iowa City council this fall. Too bad city council isn't on the same cycle as president. We should get that changed. (Yes I know it would require state law changes.)

The rhetoric from the local old guard sounds familiar to Iowa Citians, too:
The county Republican chairman, Ludlow Flower, however, does not think that new media or college students belong in a county race.

“College students are not involved in local things at all,” Mr. Flower said. “They’re only involved in Dartmouth College. They don’t buy property here, they don’t pay taxes here, so they’re not concerned with how the treasury is handled.”
Sadly, the story doesn't end well; Sievers and the old guard clashed over issues such as scheduling, preferred mediums of communication (Sievers preferred emails to meetings) and party (the old guard was all GOP). She graduated and didn't run for re-election, and her predecessor got the job back.

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