Town, Hanover coordinate in preparations for student voting

by Amber Bhutta | 2/11/20 2:15am

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The town of Hanover has worked with College officials to prepare for today's election.

by Naina Bhalla / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

The town of Hanover has coordinated with the College to facilitate voter registration in preparation for today’s presidential primary election. 

According to town clerk Betsy McClain, the town checklist supervisors coordinated with Student Assembly to organize two voter registration drives during the current academic year.

“The extent that we can make it as easy as possible to register to vote in advance of Election Day — that just makes the voting day experience more streamlined and perhaps a little less time-consuming for everybody,” McClain said.

Voting will take place in the Hanover High School gymnasium from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those who have not registered to vote yet but plan to vote in the primary will have the option to register on-site at the polling station. For students who live off-campus and want to register to vote on election day, McClain said that domicile affidavits will be made available at the polling station if those students do not have some form of proof of residency. 

“You will not be turned away to register to vote if you have nothing on your person that proves your Hanover domicile,” McClain said.

Undergraduate housing associate director Elicia Rowan wrote in an email statement that the Office of Residential Life will have representatives at Hanover High School from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to verify students’ residency for those who plan to register to vote on the day of the primary. This includes students who live in privately owned Greek houses. 

“Everything our office is doing this year is no different than any other primary or general election,” Rowan wrote. 

Students who plan to register to vote on election day can also request a proof of residency letter from the ORL in advance to avoid having to wait for domicile verification on the day of the election.

As McClain also explained, preparations for the upcoming primaries are similar to the midterm general elections in 2018. The town does not have to comply with the requirements of the controversial SB 3, a law passed in 2018 that altered the definition of a legal resident of New Hampshire, adding new requirements to vote in state. According to McClain, the law is currently enjoined and is being challenged in court.

“We are thankful that we no longer have to follow those procedures to the extent that the bill being enjoined has made our preparations more straightforward,” McClain said.

Eric Lee ’23 said that he registered to vote during one of the voter registration drives organized by Student Assembly, a process that he found “very simple.” Lee added that he currently plans to vote for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) in the Democratic primary.

“On the issues that matter to me more, I agree with her, even if there’s other candidates where it’s like, ‘I agree with more of their issues that are less important to me,’” Lee said. “With Tulsi, I enjoy the overarching narrative that it’s time to seriously rethink what we’re doing on the world stage, especially our foreign policy. I like that she hasn’t leaned into the culture the way that other candidates like [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren have.” 

Blake McGill ’22, who hails from Pennsylvania, said that she plans to vote in her home-state with an absentee ballot. 

“I’m from Pennsylvania, and I’m a little bit more invested in local politics there,” McGill said. “It’s still a swing state, and I just don’t feel as invested in New Hampshire politics because I haven’t been here long enough.”

McGill is a registered Republican, and because Pennsylvania has closed primaries she plans to vote in the Republican primary for “somebody who is not Donald Trump,” though she has not yet decided on her candidate of choice. She added that in the November’s general election, she plans to vote for the Democratic candidate.

“Though I feel abandoned by the Republican Party, I don’t feel like I’m a Democrat,” McGill said. “My mentality is kind of that I’m going to vote in the Republican primary and make my voice heard in that way.”

Blake McGill is a former member of The Dartmouth staff.