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New law for NH voters

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LEBANON, N.H. -

It's Primary Day in the Granite State, an old tradition in a democratic society. But this year there is a new rule in New Hampshire-- a photo ID law, enacted by the Republican-controlled Legislature. It requires voters to show government-issued ID at the polls.

State Rep. Andy White of Lebanon voted against the bill.

"I don't think it is unreasonable to prove that you are eligible to vote. But the forms of ID that are required under this bill in New Hampshire are just too restrictive and would actually cause people not to vote," said White, a Democrat.

Others favor the new law, saying most voters already carry a driver's license.

"If you are 21 you have to show ID to go out and get a beer. And that is just one. There are so many other places where you have to effectively show an ID to do something and these are things that are relatively minor," said Jim Walker, a Republican voter from Lebanon.

A college ID is not accepted under the bill, meaning students who live in other states but vote in New Hampshire now must get a New Hampshire license first. Linda Fowler, a professor of government at Dartmouth College, says that's going to stop students from going to the polls, which she says may be a little shortsighted by those who pushed the bill.

"Since 2000, young people have been disproportionately voting Democratic, but I remember when young people were disproportionately voting for Ronald Reagan," Fowler said. "And so I kind of scratch my head sometimes and think, why would you want to make it harder for young people to support your Party?"

But others say in the past, some college kids have tried to vote twice-- where they go to school and again back home. Supporters say the new voter ID law simply prevents that from happening.

"It is something that will help prevent fraudulent voting," Walker said.

The new law will be phased in over a year and people without proper identification this time around will still be able to participate Tuesday. But this time next year everyone heading to the polls in the Granite State must be carrying a government-issued photo ID.

There are about two dozen states that require some form of ID at the polls. Vermont is not one of them.

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