FILE Voter I.D.

(The Center Square) – New Hampshire lags behind other New England states in promoting democracy and expanding access to voting, according to a new independent report.

The analysis by Movement Advancement Project, a Colorado-based nonprofit think tank, gave New Hampshire an overall "low" grade after receiving 8 out of 33.5 possible points in the ranking – the lowest among other states in the region. 

Other New England states, including Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, were given a "medium" grade in the group's report. 

The group looked at election laws and policies of all 50 states and Washington, D.C., for its Democracy Map, ranking them based on metrics ranging from automatic voter registration, mail and early in-person voting and state primary systems to voting machine security, and congressional redistricting. 

New Hampshire lost points for not having automatic and online voter registration. It received points for having same-day voter registration, and its voter preregistration policy that allows individuals who turn 18 prior to the next election to register. 

The Granite State received a "fair" ranking for voter representation and participation, and independence and integrity of its elections. It got a "medium" ranking for voter registration and voting by mail, and a "high" ranking for election security.

Nationwide, only four states – Washington, Oregon, California and Colorado were ranked in the "high" category in the group's report. 

The issue of voting security and integrity have been thorny issues in New Hampshire in recent years, with Democrats and Republicans fighting over proposed election reforms and discredited claims of voter fraud. 

New Hampshire Republicans, who took control of the state Legislature in the 2020 elections, have pushed a number of legislative proposals that voting rights groups say are aimed at suppressing votes. 

Those include proposals to restrict student voting and tighten voter ID requirements in the past year, while blocking attempts by Democrats to expand early voting and mail balloting. 

Voting rights groups say many of the proposals have been fueled, in part, by former President Donald Trump's claims that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential elections. Trump said busloads of Massachusetts Democrats were brought up to the state to vote against him. 

A frequent target of the voter suppression efforts are college students, who constitute a sizable chunk of the electorate that helped tip the state's vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016, and to Joe Biden in the recent presidential election.

Last year, New Hampshire's Supreme Court struck down a four-year old law requiring voters to show additional proof of identity if they register shortly before an election.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who signed the law, argued the requirement to provide additional information to register to vote was needed to prevent voter fraud in elections.

Democrats and the New Hampshire League of Women Voters, which sued over the law, alleged it was part of an effort by the Legislature's GOP majority to suppress votes.