MANCHESTER, N.H. – State Senator Dan Feltes (D-Concord) joined Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig at Manchester City Hall on Tuesday as Craig endorsed Feltes’ gubernatorial bid and also shared updates on voting in Manchester to celebrate National Voter Registration Day.
Craig announced that the City Hall Aldermanic Chambers will be opened as a “voting center” during regular City Hall hours (Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). She is also working with the City Clerk’s office to finalize plans that may allow for Saturday hours during October to help Manchester voters with absentee ballot requests or other voting concerns.
Feltes also introduced proposals as part of his “People’s Plan” that would instruct the Secretary of State’s office to translate voting resources into any language spoken by at least .25 percent of the New Hampshire population, which would include Spanish, French, Chinese, Nepali, Portuguese and German in addition to English.
Other proposals included created a $100,000 fund for municipalities to increase voter accessibility and proposing legislation that would reduce the federal ballot translating threshold from 5 percent to 2.5 percent.
“Citizens should have the right to vote and (voting) materials should be available for all our citizens, that’s what this is all about,” said Feltes. “Adding this to the People’s Plan, this is a people’s democracy. All our citizens, all our people, should have the right to vote.”
Sue Corby of Welcoming Manchester, one of several speakers joining Feltes and Craig to urge greater voting access for minority populations in New Hampshire, said that simplification of
“The process of becoming a citizen makes you pretty proficient in English, you have to speak pretty decent English. But when it comes to reading voting materials that are very complicated, there are things that even I have trouble understanding,” said Corby. “People can get nervous while voting; making mistakes can have consequences. It’s not that people don’t speak English and they shouldn’t speak English to be part of our community, it’s that these circumstances warrant some support in their own language.”
On another Manchester topic, Feltes defended his position regarding commuting the sentence of Michael Addison, who was convicted of killing Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs in 2006.
“I think my position has been consistent. My position is that the commutation process should always go forward, but I don’t support a commutation petition right now because it’s a prospective appeal, not a retrospective appeal,” he said.
Feltes went on to refer to the question of the commutation as hypothetical, instead believing focus should be given to issues such as unemployment, housing and paid family medical leave insurance, criticizing New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu on his veto of a paid family medical leave insurance bill last year.
Craig also praised Feltes on the issue of addressing Manchester’s issue of homelessness. Craig thanked Sununu on Twitter for addressing the concept of a state plan for homelessness earlier this month after voicing consistent frustration with Sununu for the lack of a statewide plan, placing an inordinate burden on Manchester to address the issue.
Despite the acknowledgement from Craig regarding Sununu’s statement, she felt Feltes is a far better prospective partner for Manchester on the issue.
“Senator Feltes has actually been on the ground here in Manchester, he’s walked through the homeless camps here, he’s talked from people in and out of Manchester who are homeless,” said Craig. “So he has an understanding of the complex issue that this is, what (homeless people) are dealing with and how best to address (the issue.)”
New Hampshire Republican Party Spokesperson Joseph Sweeney dismissed Craig’s endorsement of Feltes as irrelevant given Sununu’s approval ratings this year.
“Joyce Craig, whose record in Manchester is marked by rampant homelessness, increased taxes, and reckless spending is endorsing Dan Feltes in the race for Governor,” said Sweeney. “The fact that Dan Feltes is using his time to shore up endorsements from his fellow Democrat politicians while over 70% of New Hampshire approves of Governor Sununu’s leadership is telling – Feltes is trying to shore up his liberal base in what will be a failed attempt to avoid a blow-out this November 3rd.”