I am not a resident of New Hampshire, but finding out about this House of Representatives bill still left me upset and worried. This bill, which aims to change the definition of domicile in terms of voting, would make it illegal for out of state college students to vote in New Hampshire because neither they nor their parents lived there prior to starting college. First off, this is unconstitutional. And what possible purpose would this have to be a law? Its supporters say it prevents voter fraud and it isn’t disenfranchisement because as college students from another state, their presence is assumed to be temporary. All I see this doing is possibly preventing legal adults to vote, and since college educations generally take years, how long can you really consider that temporary?
But preventing voter fraud is not what this is about, as Republican speaker and bill supporter William O’Brien reveals the truth behind the bill in a speech, saying: ”The kids coming out of the school and basically doing what I did as a kid. Voting as a liberal, and that’s what kids do. They don’t have life experience and they just vote their feelings.”
College students in general vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. So Republicans want to prevent a great deal of those students from voting, simply because they don’t like the way they vote. This is, in addition to being flat-out wrong, scary and infuriating. Politicians working to disenfranchise citizens, especially young women and men.
As a young woman, I am deeply offended by O’Brien’s words. I am of legal voting age, and my ability to vote should not be called into question in this manner. This hits especially hard for me as a feminist, considering the attacks on women’s health, bodies, and freedom made this year alone by Republicans. This isn’t to say that Democrats always stand up for the rights of women as they should, but I know which party is more likely to. My right to vote is something I take very seriously especially in light of recent events. When I choose who to vote for, it isn’t about my age, but about my own freedom and bodily autonomy, something I won’t stand by and allow sexist politicians to take away.