After a possible pre-2020 “Politics and Eggs” speech at Saint Anslem College last week, former Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters that he supports having a standard for residency when it comes to voting–the same position as the Granite State GOP.
“If you are gonna be considered a resident of this state so you can vote, that means that you have to follow all the other residency requirements that any other citizen would have to comply with,” Holder told reporters. “If you are a New Hampshire resident you have to do a variety of things, and if you’re a college student and a resident, you should have to do the same things.”
This is the fundamental argument behind House Bill 1264, which Gov. Chris Sununu sent to the Supreme Court for review. Democrats want students to be treated as residents simply by attending college in New Hampshire. Republicans want all voters–including college students–to meet the legal status of “resident” by–as Eric Holder put it–“doing a variety of things” like getting a New Hampshire drivers license or registering a vehicle.
Holder’s comments sparked an immediate backlash among Democrats, and so the politician who may need their votes in a primary in 2020 issued a “clarification” to the AP:
“My comments were intended to support the right of domiciled students to vote in the state of New Hampshire as long as they comply with existing law,” Holder said. “In no way should they be viewed as supporting any proposal that would make it harder for students to exercise their right to join in the Granite State’s electoral process.”
So which is it? Does Eric Holder believe that there should be a standard for residency in New Hampshire–something the Public Interest Law Center points out “is not radical. It’s not even rare.”
Or does he oppose “making it harder for students to exercise their right” to vote? After all, even having voter registration makes voting “harder” than not having it. Requiring an address, even asking someone’s name–all these things add some level of difficulty. Does America’s former top law-enforcement officer oppose these, too?
Holder appears to have (unintentionally) confirmed the case supporters of House Bill 1264 have been making all along: Having a standard for legal residency when it comes to voting is not voter suppression or a civil rights violation. It’s how most states protect the integrity of their elections.