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N.H. Senate bill would require 30 days of residency to vote

CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire voters would be required to live in the state for 30 days prior to voting if a bill passed by the state Senate on Thursday goes into effect.

Supporters called it a reasonable effort to avoid ‘‘drive-by’’ voting and other voter fraud, but opponents said the bill will disenfranchise some.

‘‘We always say if you didn’t vote you don’t have any right to complain,’’ said state Senator Lou D’Allesandro, a Democrat. ‘‘Well, if we don’t allow you to vote then you have every right to complain.’’

The Republican-controlled Senate passed the measure along party lines.

New Hampshire already has same-day voter registration. Existing law defines ‘‘domicile’’ as the one place where a person has established a physical presence and intends to stay. The Senate bill makes the definition of domicile more specific, and says that anyone living in New Hampshire for a temporary purpose cannot vote here.

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Republicans are concerned about campaign workers who vote in New Hampshire but leave after Election Day.

At least a dozen other states have 30-day residency requirements, including New York.

‘‘While it is difficult to attempt to balance the security of our elections with the importance of ease in voting, this bill achieves that balance,’’ said state Senator Regina Birdsell, a Republican.

State Senator Bette Lasky, a Democrat, worried about the ability of a teacher who moves to New Hampshire just before the start of a new school year to vote. Under this bill, that teacher would be restricted from voting in the September primary, though they are a New Hampshire resident and plan to stay.

The bill will now go to the House for a public hearing.