“Voter fraud is rampant in New Hampshire elections. Busloads of people are coming from Massachusetts to vote in our elections.”
Trump said it. Governor Chris Sununu said it. Right wing advocates said it. So it must be true, right?
No. Nationally over the past 16 years there has only been 35 cases of voter fraud out of the more than one billion ballots cast. This includes the four cases of voter fraud in the 2016 election.
Of course right-wing extremists need a new way to suppress voter turnout and disenfranchise voters in the hopes that their new Voter ID laws and “domicile” mandates will keep left leaning voters from the ballot box.
This week, Trump’s Voting Integrity commission will be meeting in New Hampshire on Tuesday September 12th. Prior to his visit to NH, Kris Kobach posted an Op-Ed in Breitbart claiming that Senator Maggie Hassan only won because thousands of people with out-of-state licenses voted in the NH election.
Kobach is doing three things with this statement:
- He is perpetuating the lie that “busloads of out-of-state voters” are coming to NH to vote.
- Trying to make a case against “same-day voter registration,” a right-wing priority item for years.
- Showing his complete ignorance to our voting laws.
A litany of people from both sides of the aisle have pushed back on this claim that “busloads of out-of-state voters” voted in the election, including: Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewindowski, Former NHGOP Chair Fergus Cullen, Former NH Attorney General Tom Rath, NH Assistant Attorney General Brian Buonamano, and even New Hampshire’s own Secretary of State, Bill Gardner denied these claims.
The right-wing has been working hard for decades to make it harder for people to vote. They have been eyeing same-day voter registration for many years. There is no denying that thousands of Granite Staters use this to register on voting day. Typically these are young people who move a lot or are not generally involved in politics until major elections, like the Presidential election.
Of course these people tend to vote democratic and that is why the right-wing has been pushing to eliminate it. If we had an easier way like, motor-voter registration or online voter registrations, there would more than likely be a significant drop in same-day voter registration. This would also greatly reduce the long lines in polling places that can dissuade eligible voters from casting their ballots.
Kobach clearly does not understand our voting laws. In fact, he is confusing people about what is legal and what is “voter fraud.” There is no legal requirement for a voter to have a NH drivers license or to register your car to vote in New Hampshire.
Dean Spilioties, civic scholar in the School of Arts and Sciences at Southern New Hampshire University, explained to NH Public Radio exactly how NH’s voting laws are written.
“Under the law, you can be domiciled here for purposes of voting but be a resident of another state… Where the out-of-state licenses were typically used is typically places like Durham, Hanover, Manchester. So those folks, if you’re a college student, you know, from an out-of-state – enrolled in a New Hampshire university or college, you are perfectly within the law to register to vote on election day or whenever with your out-of-state driver’s license and there’s no requirement that you then upgrade that license to a New Hampshire license at any time.”
NHPR’s News Director Dan Barrick agreed with Spilioties and added, “So there’s absolutely no evidence that, of those 5,000 plus people who voted with an out-of-state license… cast illegal ballots. There’s absolutely no evidence of that at all. And any implication is just really irresponsible.”
The Washington Post followed up on Kobach’s statement and spoke with NH college students who legally voted with an out-of-state drivers license.
“I was a student at Saint Anselm College in Manchester until I graduated this past May, and because I spent most of my time in the state I felt it was right I vote there instead of my native state of New York,” said Patrick Derenze, 22, who used his New York ID to vote.
New Hampshire’s Secretary of State Bill Gardner was tapped to be a part of Trump’s voting integrity commission, however many people are calling for him to leave the commission now as it has become evident that the commission is about finding evidence to prove the false statement that America has a voter fraud problem.
All four of New Hampshire’s elected Congressional Representatives are calling for Gardner to step down from the commission.
“Kris Kobach is deceiving the public in a desperate attempt to justify his sham Commission’s existence and back the President’s false claims – at the expense of our state and faith in our democratic process,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “I ask all public officials in New Hampshire to join me in condemning these dangerous lies, and I call on Secretary of State Gardner to immediately resign his seat on the Commission.”
“From the beginning, President Trump’s voter commission has been nothing more than a partisan sham to justify voter suppression laws,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “This latest absurd attempt to sow uncertainty in New Hampshire’s election results is consistent with Kris Kobach and the commission’s efforts to use deceptive data to question the integrity of our elections. Undermining confidence in our democratic process is irresponsible and dangerous. I urge New Hampshire Secretary of State Gardner to condemn this most recent claim and end his participation in President Trump’s voter commission.”
Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan issued a joint statement calling for Gardner to resign his position on the commission.
“It has been clear since its inception that President Trump’s voting commission is an attempt to grossly mislead voters and lay the groundwork for broad-scale, politically motivated voter suppression. Now, the head of President Trump’s misguided commission is using deceiving and irrelevant data to rehash the same false claims that have been debunked time and again by independent analysis and members of both parties in New Hampshire. The law clearly states that college students and other New Hampshire residents can vote without a New Hampshire ID, and these false partisan claims are deliberately twisting the facts. Secretary Gardner’s association with this partisan commission risks tarnishing his long legacy of fighting for the New Hampshire Primary and promoting voter participation, and it would be in keeping with his distinguished record to immediately relinquish any role with this commission.”
Gardner told The Associated Press on Friday that he will not step down because, “it’s important to figure out why Americans are losing trust in the election process.”
The answer to that question is simple: Because people keep hearing lies from prominent officials, like our President and our Governor, who say massive voter fraud exists despite any real evidence of fraud.
This is the same tactic the right-wing has been using to deny climate change. They use one report that denies the science and claim that “the results are unclear” or “the facts are in dispute.”
The facts clearly show that voter fraud is not the problem in New Hampshire but yet Trump, Sununu and Kobach continue to make false claims that it does.
If you want to strengthen the “integrity” of our voting system then let’s make some real changes. Make voter registration automatic, so when you move or buy a new home, you will automatically be registered to vote. Make in-person voting more that a one-day event. Have early voting locations where people can vote prior to election day open on weekdays and weekends. Even better, let’s move to a vote by mail system, where your ballot is automatically mailed to you and you can either mail it back, or drop it off at a specified location, prior to election day.
Oregon passed a motor voter law and conducted voting by mail and they had over 70% of the eligible voters return a ballot. Considering the national average is 55%, it appears they have found a way to increase voter turnout and protect their voting process by expanding voting rights.
The New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights will be hosting a rally on Tuesday, Sept 12th, from 8am-10am at St Anslem College, where Trump’s voting commission is scheduled to meet. More information here.