Kingston, NH vs. newcomers

I’ve been living in Kingston, New Hampshire since summer. By moving just 25 miles eastward, I’ve encountered a significantly different political climate. The level of Trumpism around here is frightening; Trump signs outnumber signs for all other presidential candidates together by at least ten to one.

Voting

Things are difficult for newcomers in subtle ways. When I looked on the Web to find out where voting in the September primary was, I found only that it was in “Swasey Gymnasium,” with no street address. I was able to find its location with some diligent searching, but other people could have been stuck. Over the weekend, I wrote to the town clerk through the website, asking to have this fixed. So far I’ve received no response. I’ll update this if I get one.

Update (Oct. 30): It’s now on the town clerk’s page. In her email, she tried to give the impression that it had always been there (while giving me the wrong URL); since it’s part of a notice giving the date of the November election, and since it took her a week to respond, I suspect a little fixing and blustering, but at least I got the result.

The primary voting results show there were no write-ins for any office. This is possible but seems doubtful. It might be excessive to list every write-in by name, but certainly at least the total count needs to be reported. Accusing the town of discarding votes would be a serious matter, though. I should write in someone in November and photograph my ballot (which seems to be legal in New Hampshire at the moment) as a test.

Proving residence

Recently I was at the town clerk’s office to register my car. A woman was trying to register as a resident, but the town accepts only certain forms of documentation:

If you purchased a home, a Comcast bill, Unitil bill, or a Mortgage agreement in you [sic] name.

If you are renting you will need a Lease Agreement, or an authorization form signed by the owner of the property approving you living at that address.

These things need to be complete before we can register any vehicles for you.

The woman said she was living with her boyfriend, and the clerk told her she couldn’t register as a resident without getting her name onto the lease agreement. As I read the website, that’s not true; a statement from the landlord should be sufficient. Possibly that was just a slip by the clerk.

New Hampshire law actually provides a much larger list of ways people can establish residence. The landlord doesn’t have to “approve” of her living there, just to affirm the fact.

This is separate from voting. New Hampshire has registration at the polls, and all I had to do was sign a statement, so that woman should be able to register as a voter if she hasn’t already, even if she can’t register her car to drive there.

I don’t have any sweeping conclusions to draw here, just a bunch of little things that are disturbing.

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4 Responses to “Kingston, NH vs. newcomers”

  1. dnarby Says:

    Hi there!

    “I don’t have any sweeping conclusions to draw here, just a bunch of little things that are disturbing.”

    If I may be so bold, I think you are missing the Sahara for a few grains of sand…

  2. Julie Nedele Says:

    It’s interesting to me how one area can differ from another. In Oregon, in order to renew your driver’s license, you need to have a birth certificate–not one issued from the hospital–but from a governmental agency such as vital records. When my husband and I had to renew ours, the law had just changed to require this. It really surprised us.

    Thank you for the interesting tidbits, Gary.

    Julie Nedele

    • Gary McGath Says:

      In order to renew it? That’s surprising. New Hampshire requires a birth certificate or a small number of other options for a new driver’s license, but renewal is just a matter of paying and taking an eye examination.
      It’s interesting that people get so concerned about difficulties in voter registration, but not so much about other things that are actually more important to living our lives.


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