VOTERS AND CHECKLISTS
Centralized Voter Registration Database
654:45 Centralized Voter Registration Database.
I. (a) The secretary of state is authorized to plan, develop, equip, establish, site, and maintain a statewide centralized voter registration database and communications system, hereinafter referred to as the voter database, connecting users throughout the state. The voter database shall include the current information on the voter registration forms, the accepted absentee ballot applications, the voter checklists, and voter actions as recorded on the marked checklist maintained by each city, ward, and town in the state. The database shall maintain addresses in accordance with United States Postal Service standardized addresses as described in the current USPS Publication 28.
(b) The secretary of state shall provide for a verification process that voters sharing a place and date of birth, along with a substantially similar name to include nicknames or likely maiden/married name changes, are unique voters. Should any voter appear to be a duplicate, that information shall be forwarded to the supervisors of the checklist of the cities or towns involved for review and confirmation. The supervisor of the checklist shall notify the secretary of state of the result of such review, and should the records show that a single individual may have voted more than once in any election such information shall be forwarded to the attorney general for further investigation or prosecution.
II. Any election official in the state authorized by this chapter to have direct access to the voter database may obtain immediate electronic access to the information contained in the voter database related to individuals registered or registering to vote in the election official's jurisdiction. The office of the clerk is hereby designated as a database access point for each town or city. The secretary of state may authorize additional database access points in a town or city, including election day access points at polling places.
III. The voter database shall, upon certification by the secretary of state, be the official record of eligible voters for the conduct of all elections held in this state.
IV. (a) The voter database shall have the following minimum components:
(1) An electronic communications system that provides access for election officials from at least one point in each city and town within the state.
(2) An interactive computer program allowing local election officials access to records contained in the database with a process to add, delete, modify, or print a voter registration record related to the election official's jurisdiction. The system shall be designed so that there can be regular updates to the database, the records reflect the name of each registered voter with no duplication, and the names of ineligible voters are removed. The system shall contain safeguards to ensure that the names of properly registered voters are not removed in error.
(b) Voter database record data shall be verified by matching the records with those of the department of safety and the federal social security administration as are required by law, and with the records of the state agency or division charged with maintaining vital records. For this purpose the voter registration record database may be linked to the state agency or division charged with maintaining vital records and the department of safety, provided that no linked agency or division may save or retain voter information or use it for purposes other than verifying the accuracy of the information contained in the voter database. The link authorized by this subparagraph shall not allow the department of state or election officials direct access to the motor vehicle registration or driver's license records maintained by the division of motor vehicles. The commissioner of safety may authorize the release of information from motor vehicle registration and driver's license records to the extent that the information is necessary to department of state and department of safety cooperation in a joint notification to individuals of apparent discrepancies in their records and to the extent that the information is necessary to resolve those discrepancies. The commissioner of safety and the secretary of state are authorized to enter into an agreement that establishes the services to be provided by the department of safety and the cost for those services. The department of safety shall not be required to provide any services under this subparagraph unless an agreement is in place and there are sufficient funds in the election fund to pay the cost for the services. The system shall facilitate the identification and correction of voter registration records whenever a registered voter has died or has been disenfranchised pursuant to part I, article 11 of the New Hampshire constitution or RSA 654:5 through RSA 654:6, or when the domicile address does not match the address provided by the same individual to the department of safety.
(c) Access by local election officials to the voter database shall be limited to the supervisors of the checklist, city registrars and deputy registrars, and town or city clerks and their deputies, as determined by the secretary of state. Access by local election officials shall be subject to the limitations of paragraph VI, and shall be limited to the records of individuals who are currently registered to vote in the official's jurisdiction and individuals who are applying to register to vote in the official's jurisdiction.
(d) Beginning July 1, 2022, the secretary of state shall, no less than annually, cause voter records to be checked with the United States Postal Service for changes of address. All records identified as moving shall be provided to the city or town supervisors of the checklist for verification pursuant to RSA 654:39, III.
V. The secretary of state shall:
(a) Specify the employees of the department of state authorized to access records contained in the voter database, subject to the limitations of paragraph VI.
(b) Provide adequate technological security measures to deter unauthorized access to the records contained in the voter database.
(c) Issue guidelines to implement the voter database.
VI. The voter database shall be private and confidential and shall not be subject to RSA 91-A and RSA 654:31, nor shall it or any of the information contained therein be disclosed pursuant to a subpoena or civil litigation discovery request. The secretary of state is authorized to provide voter database record data to the administrative office of the courts to assist in the preparation of master jury lists pursuant to RSA 500-A and to the clerk of the District Court of the United States for the District of New Hampshire to assist in the preparation of federal court jury lists. The voter checklist for a town or city shall be available pursuant to RSA 654:31. Any person who discloses information from the voter database in any manner not authorized by this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
VII. The city and town clerk shall enter, maintain, and keep up to date election official contact information and polling place information as determined by the secretary of state in the statewide centralized voter registration database for use by the secretary of state in effecting election laws.
VIII. (a) The secretary of state may enter into an agreement to share voter information or data from the statewide centralized voter registration database for the purpose of comparing duplicate voter information with other states or groups of states. The secretary of state shall only provide information that is necessary for matching duplicate voter information with other states and shall take precautions to make sure that information in the database is secure in a manner consistent with RSA 654:45, VI. The secretary of state may solicit input from the department of safety and the department of information technology and shall ensure that any information or data shared between the agencies that is of a confidential nature remains confidential.
(b) The secretary of state shall investigate any duplicate matches of voters resulting from any comparisons of the statewide centralized voter registration database with other states. If the investigation results in the inability to confirm the eligibility of a person or persons who voted, or there is reason to believe a person or persons voted who were not eligible, the secretary of state shall forward the results to the attorney general for further investigation or prosecution.
(c) Upon completion of any investigation authorized under RSA 654:45, VIII(b), the attorney general and the secretary of state shall forward a report summarizing the results of the investigation to the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, and the chairpersons of the appropriate house and senate standing committees with jurisdiction over election law.
Source. 2003, 266:3. 2006, 305:2. 2010, 182:1, 15. 2014, 111:1, eff. Aug. 10, 2014. 2016, 175:1, eff. June 13, 2016; 270:4, eff. June 26, 2016. 2017, 222:4, 5, eff. July 10, 2017. 2018, 329:8, eff. June 25, 2018. 2021, 137:4, 5, eff. Sept. 21, 2021.