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DOJ allows New Hampshire voter ID law

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Tuesday allowed [DOJ letter] a New Hampshire law [materials] requiring the use of photo identification in order to cast a regular ballot during elections. The new law is schedule to take effect on September 13. Voters who are unable to present a government issued will be permitted to cast a regular ballot after they sign a qualified voter affidavit and permit a photograph to be taken of themselves at the polling location. Voters refusing a photograph for religious reasons will be required to affirm an affidavit to that effect. The DOJ qualified its position by stating that "the failure of the Attorney general to object [in this letter] does not bar subsequent litigation to enjoin the enforcement of the changes."

The DOJ rejected a stricter Texas law [JURIST report] in April, noting that SB 14 would have a disproportionate impact on the state's Latino voters, and that the law is potentially discriminatory. The charge came only a month after the DOJ sent a letter [JURIST report] claiming that the law violated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. There are currently 33 US states [NCSL backgrounder] that have passed legislation requiring voters to present some form of ID at the polls, including 17 states requiring photo ID. The issue remains legally controversial, with litigation in states such as South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota [JURIST reports].

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