NH Governor Vetoes Three Harmful Bills
New Hampshire Governor John Lynch (D) vetoed a bill on Monday that would have classified the death of a fetus as homicide and vetoed two other bills on Wednesday that would have imposed restrictions on voting registration. One of the voter registration laws would have required a photo ID to register to vote and the other would have linked voter registration to the state motor vehicle records. As previously reported in the Feminist Daily Newswire, Lynch also vetoed a late abortion ban last week.
Lynch said he did not support the legislation to expand the homicide laws because it did not contain a proper viability standard and set the fetus's age at only eight weeks to be considered a victim of homicide. In his veto statement, Lynch wrote that the law endangers pregnant women because "it is not clear that an emergency room physician will be able to perform emergency treatment upon a pregnant woman brought in unconscious following a car accident or stroke, especially if there is no legally appointed guardian." Critics of the bill also said that the bill's definition of fetus was too vague and could even include embryos discarded during in vitro fertilization, essentially outlawing the procedure in New Hampshire.
The voting restriction laws also went too far, according to Lynch. In his veto statement of the law linking voting domicile to motor vehicle records, he wrote, "We need to encourage all New Hampshire citizens to vote and to participate fully in our democracy. We also need to ensure that our election laws do not unfairly burden those voters that have recently established a domicile in New Hampshire and are qualified to vote in this state." He continued, "Any changes to our voting procedures must ensure a person's constitutional right to vote is protected. This bill does not meet that test." Lynch also said that the Voter ID law does not protect a person's constitutional right to vote. He vetoed similar legislation last year. According to the Brennan Center for Justice (PDF), 11% of Americans, or 21 million people, do not have government issued photo IDs and an even greater percentage of minority voters do not possess ID. The Brennan Center reports that 25% of African Americans do not have photo IDs.
Media Resources: New Hampshire Union Leader 6/20/12; AP 6/20/12, 6/19/12; Nashua Telegraph 6/19/12; Feminist Daily Newsire 6/19/12, Governor Lynch Veto Messages 6/20/12, 6/18/12Brennan Center for Justice Report 2011