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Concerned Citizens Confront Secretary of State Gardner Over Information Provided To Election Commission

Today a group of concerned citizens traveled to Concord to have a frank discussion with New Hampshire’s Secretary of State, Bill Gardner.  The group had serious concerns about the information being provided to the President’s “Election Integrity Commission” and what the information would be used for.

The commission sent a letter to all 50 states last week requesting them to release personally identifying voter information, which it will then make public. Gardner serves on the commission and last week stated he will give the voter file to the commission. The NH ACLU filed a lawsuit for a temporary injunction on the matter earlier today to prevent him from doing so.

Today when asked Gardner provided some new details into what the commission is doing and that he does not want to make this information public.

First, Gardner explained that Kobach issued a retraction letter, though he has not seen it yet.

 

Gardner went on to say that he does not approve of the ‘Election Integrity Commission’ plan to publicly distribute personal voter data.

“I will make sure that that information is not gonna be put in the public domain,” said Gardner.

It is clear that Gardner shares the concerns of these fellow Granite Staters.

 

The big question is: What does Kris Kobach want to do with this information?  Does Kobach plan to give this information to President Trump?

One Granite Stater asked, “Can you guarantee the current administration won’t be using that database in any way, shape, or form?”

Gardner responded, “We’ll have these discussions when there’s the first meeting,” implying he still does not know what the information is being gathered for.

Mo Baxley of Laconia then asked, “And you won’t turn over the information until those conversations.”

Gardner stated, “I want to make sure that this is not in the public domain, and what the guarantees are for that, and I expect that that is the case, and before it gets turned over, I will make sure that I’m satisfied that, that, that’s the case.”

 


Special Thanks to Granite State Progress for capturing all of this exchange on video.

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Press releases online at www.GraniteStateProgress.org.

ACLU of NH Sues To Block Secretary Of State From Disclosing Statewide Voter Information

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire today sued to bar the New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner from illegally disclosing statewide information concerning New Hampshire voters.  The complaint can be found attached below.

On Friday, June 30, 2017, Secretary Gardner agreed to produce to the recently-created Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (the “Commission”) statewide information concerning over 984,000 registered voters’ names, domicile and mailing addresses, and party affiliation, if any. This response ignored New Hampshire laws that place strict and binding requirements on how the State is to produce voter information.  (See RSA 654:31)

“The legislature carefully designed strict restrictions on the sharing of voter information for good reason: to protect voter privacy,” stated Representative Neal Kurk (R-NH), a plaintiff in the lawsuit. “These protections would be rendered meaningless by the transfer of this data to the Commission, which has established no security protocols and intends to post everything it receives online.”

Representative Kurk was involved in the crafting of the relevant statutes under RSA 654:31, which limit the prospect of mass dissemination of this statewide voter information in order to ensure that statewide voter information is only used for political purposes, not for commercial gain. (RSA 654:31(VI) explicitly prohibits voter information from being used for commercial purposes.)

“The Secretary of State has no statutory authority to release a copy of the statewide public checklist to anyone other than a political party, political committee, or candidate for New Hampshire office,” stated Senator Betty Lasky (D-NH), another plaintiff in the case.

RSA 654:31(II)-(III) only allows requesters to: (i) view the statewide public checklist on the statewide centralized voter registration database at the state records and archives center during normal business hours where requesters are prohibited from printing, duplicating, transmitting, or altering the data and (ii) obtain hard copies of the public checklist from local municipalities on a town-by-town/ward-by-ward basis at a fee of at least $25 per municipality or ward.

“The Commission is not entitled to special, unwritten exemptions from the Secretary of State that circumvent New Hampshire law,” stated Gilles Bissonnette, Legal Director of the ACLU of NH. “He must apply the law to the Commission no differently than he would apply the law to a regular member of the public seeking this information.”

The lawsuit, Kurk v. Gardner, seeks to bar the Secretary of State from disclosing this information without full compliance with New Hampshire law. It was filed in Hillsborough Superior Court South.

FINAL Filed Complaint (1)

Trump’s Sham Committee On Voter Fraud Brings In The Secretary’s of State From NH And KS

The NH Young Democrats and The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law speak out against Trump’s new executive order to investigate unfounded claims of voter fraud.

Following the shocking news that President Trump signed an executive order establishing the “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity” and that Secretary of State William Gardner will participate on the commission, House Election Law Committee member Representative Isaac Epstein released the following statement on behalf of the NHYD:

“Every voter in New Hampshire should be alarmed that President Trump has cooked up this sham commission. This is a clumsy distraction to justify the President’s ridiculous lies about fake voter fraud here in our own state. Serious leaders on both sides of the aisle, including Secretary of State Gardner, have all dismissed these absurd allegations.

We appreciate Secretary Gardner’s many years of service to the State of New Hampshire, but we have real concerns about his participation in this commission. Specifically, we are concerned by his outspoken support for Senate Bill 3 which was introduced to address the very perceptions of voter fraud that President Trump and Governor Sununu have fabricated.

If Secretary Gardner participates on this commission, we implore him to stand up for every Granite State voter and to reject the Trump administration’s lies about massive voter fraud. Further, we beg him to only support conclusions that are based in fact and reality. As a public servant, Secretary Gardner’s top priority should be to protect the most fundamental right of every American – the right to vote.”

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, released the following statement Thursday in response to alarming reports that President Trump will launch a commission to review his unfounded claims of voter suppression.

According to reports, the commission will be co-led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a partisan advocate for voter suppression laws:

“In no uncertain terms we condemn the launch of this so-called Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.  President Trump is trying to create a distraction from actual threats to our democracy, such as ongoing voter suppression and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

“When Attorney General Jeff Sessions led a similar effort as a former prosecutor in Alabama, it had a chilling effect on the black vote.  Now, President Trump is seeking the counsel of Kansas Secretary of State Kobach, who has a proven record of advocating for discriminatory and burdensome policies that prevent members of minority communities from exercising their right to vote.”

Report after report has shown that there is no voter fraud in New Hampshire and that Trump’s accusations of voter fraud are completely unfounded.  What is real is the partisan attack on voting rights and access to the ballot as Republicans say they are “tightening up the laws.”  These new restrictions will block assess to the ballot and suppress the vote.

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