New Hampshire’s new governor says he won’t sign bill that would expand the scope of voter registration

NEW HAVEN, N.H. — New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan said Monday that she would not sign a bill that could expand the number of people who can register to vote online.

The measure that would have allowed people to register online by the end of the year failed in the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature last week, but it is being revived by Hassan’s Democratic predecessor, Democrat Phil Murphy.

State officials have estimated the bill would have brought in about $6.5 billion to the state budget over the next five years, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

The state could use the money to pay for more than 50,000 voter registration drives this year.

Hassan said Monday she would sign the bill if it passed in the next legislative session.

Murphy spokesman Ryan McDonough said Monday in a statement that the governor has spoken with Murphy’s staff and the bill is not on the table.

The bill would allow registered voters to register and vote by mail or in person at their county’s elections office.

Hutchins spokesman Kevin Lutz said the governor is open to the possibility of expanding the registration deadline.

The bill passed in a narrow margin of 51-49 in the Republican-dominated House, but the Senate voted 58-34 to reject it.

Murphy said Monday he would introduce a separate bill that he said would provide voters with the same rights as voters without registering online.

“This is an issue we can’t ignore, and we should not wait until the end to do what’s right,” Murphy said.

The House vote was the latest setback for the bill, which would have made it easier for registered voters in New Hampshire to obtain their absentee ballot, though it also would have required them to fill out an online application.

The proposal also would allow voters to have absentee ballots counted by mail, though the legislation does not include a deadline for doing so.

It is unclear how many people have already registered to vote by the deadline, but some experts say that number could be as high as a few thousand.

State Sen. Joe Boland, R-Gloucester, who sponsored the bill in the House, said Monday it is not clear whether the legislature will move forward on a separate version of the bill.

“I don’t know if we will get a vote,” he said.

Murich’s office said he plans to introduce a bill this week to extend the deadline to Nov. 6.

It is unclear if the governor will introduce a new version of a voter registration bill in a separate session, though he has previously signaled he would.

State Assemblywoman Linda McDonagh, D-Litchfield, said she expects to introduce her own version of that bill.

The idea is to allow registered people to vote, McDonag said, adding that she supports the idea of making it easier to register voters.

“It’s just a matter of how it’s done,” she said.

State Rep. Mark R. Borenstein, D -Manchester, said he is opposed to the proposed bill because he believes the state should have made voting easier for people who have trouble finding the information they need to register to do so.

Borenstein said he has no plans to vote on any of the bills in the legislative session, which starts on Tuesday.

The bills that failed in both chambers would have added to the existing voter registration requirements, including the registration of those who live overseas.

Bureau of Motor Vehicles Secretary Robert L. Hartman said in a conference call with reporters Monday that the state would be making changes to the current voter registration process to make it easier and faster to register.

Hartman said the state has made changes to its voter registration system and is working to make the process more streamlined and expeditious.

Hartland also said the DMV will continue to develop a list of eligible voters who have registered online.