To the editor:

The right to vote in New Hampshire is being challenged.

Our right to clean and fair elections is eroding. The state Legislature has fallen in line with the unfounded White House contention that there were illegal voters bused in from Massachusetts casting ballots in New Hampshire in the 2016 presidential election.

N.H. Secretary of State Bill Gardner has even fallen for this false narrative as an excuse for serving on Trump’s so-called Election Integrity Commission and by supporting New Hampshire voter suppression bills written by out-of-state entities with no understanding of New Hampshire and its residents.

If our leaders and legislators were honestly interested in election integrity and defending voting rights, they would support legislation that encourages more people to vote and empowers local election officials to verify an accurate vote count.

Not surprisingly, the N.H. Legislature and Trump’s commission are going after phantom “illegal” voters rather than achieving their purported goal of election integrity.

As if the Koch Brothers’ Voter ID law passed in New Hampshire wasn’t bad enough, even more ALEC-inspired voter suppression bills were passed in the last legislative session. Our legislators, so concerned about this perceived voter fraud, supported these regressive bills, while steadfastly voting against legislation to protect our voting rights and verify that our votes are counted accurately by profit-producing machines.

We have several honorable New Hampshire legislators whose votes demonstrated an understanding of the need to encourage greater participation in the democratic process and who voted to assure that our vote-counts could be verified. Unfortunately, there are not enough of these informed, clear-thinking representatives, so it is up to us, We the People, to assert our rights and to take action to make sure every person of voting age is able to vote and can be guaranteed their vote matters, and to see that the electoral process is not hijacked by special interests and their legislative friends.

New Hampshire communities recognize the growing assault on our voting rights and election integrity. In the wake of recent court rulings like Citizens United, the proliferation of money in politics has increased substantially, transparency is virtually nonexistent, and the stranglehold of the corporate state on our individual and collective rights has tightened the noose around any sense of democracy.

We need to assert our rights at the local level to change our form of government to one that serves and protects people over the profits of corporations and their representatives.

Given the failure of the N.H. legislature to protect our votes, and given its advocacy for voter suppression, we have to take action in our communities.

The New Hampshire Community Rights Network provides education about local self-governance and the development of rights-based ordinances that put communities in charge of decision-making regarding their resources, ecosystems, health and safety, religious freedom, immigrant rights, food sources, access to the ballot and fair elections that are clean and verifiable.

We have the power in our communities to preserve our right to vote and to demand integrity in our elections. The New Hampshire Community Rights Network is a vital resource for communities to procure clean and fair elections. To learn more, contact the New Hampshire Community Rights Network at through the website www.nhcommunityrights.org.

Diane St Germain

NHCRN Board of Directors

Center Barnstead

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