Today, the Attorney General’s office announced that the Secretary of State became aware of confidential voter information included on some marked voter checklists submitted to the State Archives. The error was found during preparation to send personal voter data to President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission.
“A very small number of handwritten entries related to voters who at one time were entitled to vote non-publicly by absentee ballot because they had domestic violence protective orders issued by courts but were added to the public checklist as voters who voted in person at the 2016 General Election,” stated Secretary of State Gardner in a press release issued this morning.
“Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan told WMUR Tuesday that a total of 39 people statewide were under protective order at the time of the 2016 general election and that “approximately seven” of them were incorrectly placed on the public checklists submitted to the state archives by “a handful” of communities,” reported WMUR.
House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) released the following statement:
“Today’s announcement by the Attorney General’s office regarding the public release of private voter information is very concerning. This episode leaves more questions unanswered about the safety of Granite Staters’ voter information and reinforces the belief that New Hampshire should join the many states that have chosen not to share personal voter information with the Trump commission.”
“Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking are protected under New Hampshire law and the careless release of this protected personal information may place a victim and their children in danger from an abuser. Endangering the health and welfare of these victims because of unfounded voter fraud accusations is unconscionable.”
“After spending considerable time and effort in recent years lobbying for legislation that increases documentation requirements on voters, it is imperative that the Secretary of State’s office focus on providing guidance to our hardworking local election officials and assuring that current laws protecting voter information are not jeopardized.”
NHDP Chair Ray Buckley issued the following statement:
“New Hampshire’s Live Free or Die spirit puts a high value on privacy. Today, we learned that New Hampshire’s attempt to comply with Trump’s sham Election Integrity Commission request interfered with the most sacred privacy imaginable. And for what? To soothe Trump’s fragile ego and manufacture proof of Trump’s voter fraud conspiracy theories?
Domestic violence victims deserve to have their vote protected and non-public. This was never a consideration for Governor Sununu when he went on TV to say ‘comply’ with the commission or you’re ‘playing politics,’ nor did he consider the questionable legality of handing over the information in the first place. This kind of unthinking snafu is why states default to protecting their voters’ information. We can’t trust this info with a leak-happy White House who has proven they’re not even capable of keeping code word secrets. This should be a moment of reckoning: New Hampshire must stand up to this sham Election Integrity Commission along with the vast majority of states around the country.”
Secretary of State Gardner stressed in his press release that the State “has not released any public records and will not release the requested copies of the marked checklists until an ongoing process of redacting handwritten non-public information is completed.”