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Election Protection Coalition Pens Open Letter to Political Parties Concerning Voter Intimidation

76 Civil Rights, Voting Rights and Civic Engagement Organizations Sign-On

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 31, 2016 – Today, in partnership with 75 other national and state-based civil rights organizations, the Election Protection Coalition, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), sent an open letter to the leadership of the four political parties with presidential candidates in 2016, calling on them to denounce recent appeals to deploy observers and law enforcement against imagined voter fraud.

These actions are intended to depress voter turnout and participation, particularly among minority groups, and they run the risk of disrupting the conduct of elections, thereby causing chaos on Election Day. Election Protection will continue its work to ensure that all eligible voters are able to cast a ballot free from intimidation and harassment. Voters can call 866-OUR-VOTE year-round to be connected to trained volunteers for questions and concerns about voting.

To read the full letter in images below, or by clicking here.

Election-Protection-Letter-to-Party-Leadership2

Election-Protection-Letter-to-Party-Leadership2

ICYMI: Coalition of NH Taxpayers Once Again Found Making False Accusations of Voter Fraud

Ed Naile and the Coalition of NH Taxpayers have no idea how to read a voter file, continue to make false accusations based on shoddy research 

Concord, NH – In an unsurprising development, Ed Naile and the Coalition of NH Taxpayer’s latest “voter fraud” allegation has once again been soundly debunked. For the last month, Naile, CNHT, and the NH Tea Party have relentlessly alleged fraud by a former New Hampshire voter, using social media graphics and posts on Granite Grok and Girard at Large to defame an American citizen who did his civic duty to vote in every election. An in-depth article in The Cabinet this week, pasted below, gives the real story.

Quote from Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress:

“It’s clear that Ed Naile and the Coalition of NH Taxpayers have no idea how to read a voter file, and that they have once again based false accusations on shoddy research. Any allegations they make should continue to be scrutinized carefully, because even the simplest fact check quickly debunks their statements.”

The Cabinet story is below.

——————————

The Cabinet: Illegal voting allegations out of Wilton

Thursday, November 6, 2014

By JESSIE SALISBURY
Correspondent

WILTON – According to an organization called Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers, and as shown on their website www.cnht.com, resident Jared Cram voted twice in presidential elections in 2008 and 2012, both in Wilton and near Philadelphia.

The website refers to Cram as a “Democratic Philly Lawyer,” and displays a picture apparently taken from a Facebook page. It offers no proof of the charge.

The accusation was also made at a recent candidates’ forum by Frank Edelblut, a Republican candidate for the state house of representatives, in answer to a question from the floor about voter fraud. He used Cram and his alleged voting record as proof there is a problem in the state.

He said, “Right here in the town of Wilton.”

Selectman Kermit Williams rebutted that accusation then, and is still doing so, pointing out that the accusations are false, that Cram had moved to Wilton well before the election.

On Monday, Oct. 29, Town Clerk Jane Farrell outlined what she had done in response to the case for the Board of Selectmen.

After the accusations were made, she said she had received a call from the Secretary of State’s Office asking for copies of the checked voter lists for the primary elections in those years in order to verify Cram’s voting history.

“Unfortunately, 2008 was a year we purged the checklist (as required periodically by state law).”

Checklists are scanned for the archives, and one appeared to show that Cram had voted twice.

However, further checking found that the scanned copy was of Cram’s father’s name and that Jared had not voted.

“We corrected that record,” she said.

As for 2012, she said, “It was alleged that he had voted in two state primaries, and he actually did, but Pennsylvania holds their primary in April in connection with municipal elections.” Cram was living there at the time and voted.

During the summer, he moved back to Wilton, where his parents live, to recuperate from a medical problem, and voted in the primary and general election here.

“None of the three races (in 2012) covered the same people,” Farrell said. She noted that New Hampshire state statutes allow for voting in different states if the elections are held on different dates.

“This is casting aspersions on us and on our secretary of State’s office,” Farrell said, and the “Secretary of State is very annoyed.”

http://www.cabinet.com/cabinet/cabinetnews/1051004-308/illegal-voting-allegations-out-of-wilton.html#sthash.xGfMqGTk.VCZUtbQt.dpuf

NH-GOP GOV Candidate Walt Havenstein Has Major Eligibility Issues

Walt Havenstein Between a Rock and a Hard Place with Ballot Eligibility Questions

Candidate Pushed by Washington Republicans Either Ineligible to Run in NH or Committed Tax Fraud in MD 

walt havensteinConcord, NH–Yesterday, a front-page Nashua Telegraph expose outlined how potential NHGOP gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein took Maryland property tax breaks that required his principal residence to be in that state, raising a host of questions and putting his potential candidacy in doubt. But this much is clear: Havenstein either is ineligible to run in New Hampshire or he committed tax fraud in Maryland.

New Hampshire’s Constitution requires candidates for Governor to “have been an inhabitant of this state for 7 years next preceding.” The Telegraph uncovered that Havenstein “saved $5,354 from 2008-11 by getting a homestead exemption from local property taxes in Bethesda, Md. He also paid a lower state property transfer tax while buying the property in that state. To get both, Havenstein had to acknowledge that his $1 million condominium was his ‘principal residence.’”

Under Maryland law, ”Principal residence” has been defined to mean the “one dwelling where the homeowner regularly resides and is the location designated by the owner for the legal purposes of voting, obtaining a driver’s license, and filing income tax returns.”

A Maryland law was enacted in 2007 that requires all homeowners to submit an application stating that they meet the principal residence requirements, under penalty of perjury. According to the Telegraph, “Havenstein said he didn’t recall signing that form.”

“Despite Walt Havenstein’s selective memory, in order to receive the tax breaks he received, Maryland law required Havenstein to certify that his Maryland home was his principal residence, including for voting, paying taxes, driver’s license and car registration,” said Julie McClain, NHDP Communications Director. “That certification and Maryland law clearly makes Havenstein ineligible to run for state office under New Hampshire’s Constitution. For him to state otherwise is to assert that he was committing tax fraud in Maryland, raising a whole other set of legal questions for Mr. Havenstein.”

Havenstein admitted to the Telegraph that he did in fact register a car in Maryland, but continued to vote in New Hampshire, despite the requirement under his homestead property tax credit that he vote in Maryland. Havenstein did not indicate where he filed his income taxes.

McClain continued, “The questions surrounding Walt Havenstein’s actions are quite serious and could suggest misconduct. Why did Havenstein think it was acceptable to vote in New Hampshire when he was claiming his residence for voting purposes in another state? Does he realize that by continuing to vote in New Hampshire, he was likely committing tax fraud in Maryland? Was he also using New Hampshire as an income tax shelter, or did he file his taxes in Maryland as required? If Havenstein – the handpicked candidate of Washington Republicans – were to run for governor, he would have an extremely difficult time explaining his actions to the Ballot Law Commission and Maryland authorities, not to mention Granite State voters.”

NH Labor News 8/22/12: Prison Privatization Update, Voter ID, Medicare, RTW for Less, and Minimum Wage

Pension Privatization Update: House Committee Scopes Out Financial Services Firms | StateImpact New Hampshire: “Today, a legislative committee investigating pension privatization issued a request for information from companies that manage retirement funds.

After pension reform legislation failed to pass last term, House Speaker O’Brien requested that a committee convene over the summer to craft new legislation for next term. The committee will likely propose to move all new public employees to private, defined contribution plans — like a 401(k).”


Combat voter ID law with education | Concord Monitor: “Jack Saunders has the right idea. Saunders, who lives in Holderness, is the author of a letter to the editor published in the Sunday Monitor. He suggested that one good way to combat the cynical intent behind New Hampshire’s new voter ID law is to educate people about it so they’re not surprised or frustrated on Election Day.”


Feds still reviewing N.H. Medicaid care management plan – Fosters: “Federal health care regulators are still evaluating New Hampshire’s proposal to implement a new care management system for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Launching the new system will require a waiver from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).”


Success of Indiana’s right-to-work law disputed » Evansville Courier & Press: “Officials at 20 companies have said Indiana’s passage of a right-to-work law earlier this year was a factor in their decisions to bring more jobs to the state, according to Daniel Hasler, who leads the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

However, Nancy Guyott, a union leader and the state’s biggest right-to-work opponent, questioned the numbers.

The conflict occurred Monday after Hasler presented the information to the General Assembly’s Interim Study Committee on Economic Development. Hasler said companies have told the agency that right to work “does matter.””


» STUDY: States with Higher Minimum Wage Have Had Less Employment Loss During the Great Recession: “Because attempts to increase the minimum wage are being met head on by the GOP talking point that doing so would cause employers to cut jobs and hours, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center looked at two decades of data in their recent report, The Minimum Wage and Job Creation.

The study found that minimum wage increases have not had a negative effect on employment in New England.

In Massachusetts alone, the minimum wage has increased six times since 1995. During this period, growth in industries with concentrations of high minimum wage earners has been higher than total employment.”


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Why We Must Act To Stop Voter ID Laws

Many Granite Staters are waiting for the Department of Justice review of the new Voter ID Law passed by the NH Legislature this year.  Many other states are talking about new Voter ID laws and how this is movement to restrict voters in a false claim of voter fraud.

Even Lynn Christensen, town moderator in Merrimack said, ” I don’t believe there’s widespread voter fraud. I don’t believe there’s fraud in this town”.  She continued  “There is not voter fraud however Voter ID laws will prevent good people from voting.”

According to the AFGE research:

  • 25% of African Americans do not have a state issued id.
  • 15% of people making less than $35,000 last year do not have a state issued id.
  • 18% of people between 18-24 do not have a state issued id with the correct address.
  • 18% of seniors do not have a valid state issued id.

These Voter ID could effect as many as 21 Million people nation wide.

We need to protect these people and their Constitutional right to vote.  If we do not then it will give the 1% more opportunity to push anti-worker legislation

 

For more information of AFGE and Protecting People’s Rights to Vote click here.

Video Link: AFGE Defends Democracy

NH Labor 2012 Elections News 7/1/12: Bass Distorts Truth, O’Keefe Back In NH, Medicare Changes, and more

PolitiFact New Hampshire | Charlie Bass goes on the attack and distorts opponent’s statement on debt limit: “Our ruling:

Bass said that Kuster said the debate over America’s debt limit is not an important issue of the day.

But a review of Kuster’s full remarks show that’s not what she said . As part of a longer comment about how Congress is dysfunctional, she complains that lawmakers are “bickering over the debt limits and they’re off on arguing about things that aren’t even the issues of the day.”

Her comments indicate she is unhappy with “bickering” over the debt, but she doesn’t go so far as to say the debt is not an important issue. We rate Bass’ claim False.”


James O’Keefe Returns to NH – Merrimack, NH Patch: “Republican gubernatorial candidates Ovide Lamontagne and Kevin Smith both signed the Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire pledge last week, committing to lower taxes and spending and reducing the size of government.

“We are very pleased with the initial response to our 2012 anti-tax pledge,” said Corey R. Lewandowski, state director of Americans for Prosperity-NH. “The pledge lets voters know where candidates stand on important economic issues. We hope that every candidate seeking office in New Hampshire this year will consider signing it.”

The pledge was authored by Tom Thomson, honorary chairman of Americans for Prosperity-NH, and commits candidates to cutting taxes, spending and the size of government as well as supporting Right to Work laws and upholding the New Hampshire and U.S. constitutions.”


Ruling gives NH options on Medicaid – NashuaTelegraph.com: “Democratic candidate Maggie Hassan, of Exeter, took the Lynch position of not committing to either side.
“There has long been a bipartisan interest in New Hampshire in helping ensure that working families can afford health insurance because it is right for families and because businesses are paying higher insurance premiums because of the shifting of the costs of the uninsured,” Hassan said.
“As governor, I will work with businesses and the legislature to determine how best to use the federal funds available to increase access to health insurance for all of our citizens and to help lower the growth in insurance premium costs for our small businesses.”
Democratic candidate Jackie Cilley, of Barrington, said that while she would continue to review the details, she expects she would move forward with expanding Medicaid.
“As governor, I’m confident that I’ll be able to work with the Legislature and our representatives in D.C. to make sure that all the ACA reforms, including Medicaid expansion, serve the citizens of New Hampshire,” Cilley said in a statement.”

NHLN NOTE: Both NH GOV GOP Candidates are against any form of medicare expansion. Ovide is also quoted as saying, “Opposing Obamacare is a top priority”.


Healthcare vote offers ‘opportunities’ for both parties in Nov. – NashuaTelegraph.com: “Ad attacks ‘tax’
The fiscally-conservative Americans for Prosperity group gets this week’s Rapid Response Award.
Less than 30 hours after the Supreme Court ruled in support of the Affordable Care Act, AFP bought ad time in New Hampshire and nine other swing states attacking the president on the law’s “new tax.”
AFP State Director Corey Lewandowski maintained the group has a $9 million budget for the ad.
“President Obama’s health care law is irresponsible and unaffordable. It is bad policy for our country, and if the Supreme Court will not rule it unconstitutional, then it is up to Congress to fully repeal the legislation,” Lewandowski said in a statement.
Before nightfall on Thursday, the liberal New Hampshire Citizens for Action had hosted its first post-decision rally at Veterans Park in Manchester.
Let the games begin.”


NHLN commentator and Defending NH Public Education creator, Bill Dunan is also running for Executive Council. He sent in this letter to the Seacoast Online about the changes to Medicare.

High-impact health care decisions | SeacoastOnline.com: “Laboring out of sight of most of us, New Hampshire’s Executive Council has worked hand-in-glove with the Legislature to create a health insurance market that will be complex and confusing for New Hampshire citizens. And, now, as a result of last week’s Supreme Court decision, the Council is in a position to do even more damage.

The five-member Executive Council plays a critical role in governing New Hampshire. It makes hundreds of decisions every month because the Council’s approval is required on all gubernatorial appointments and executive department contracts.

The Executive Council started down the wrong road on health insurance soon after it took office in 2011. The new tea party majority refused to accept federal funding to establish New Hampshire’s own Affordable Insurance Exchange. Then the Legislature followed through in HB 1297 by prohibiting the establishment of a New Hampshire insurance exchange.”


Nashua Dems Plan Candidate Forum – Nashua, NH Patch: “The Nashua Democratic City Committee will host a Candidate Forum on Monday, July 16 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. with New Hampshire’s Democratic Primary Candidates Jackie Cilley, Maggie Hassan and Bill Kennedy. The forum will take place in the City Hall Auditorium, 229 Main Street, Nashua.

The purpose of the event is to give Democrats and Undeclared voters a chance to view each candidate side-by-side so voters can better draw comparisons between the candidates, said City Democrats Chairman, David Tencza. The details of the forum will be released as they become available. Organizers do anticipate audience participation during a portion of the event and urge voters to come with questions for the candidates.”

Prosecute The Fake Voters!! Op/Ed from Granite State Progress

This is an Op/Ed from Granite State Progress and our friend Zandra Rice-Hawkins. It was also published today in the Concord Monitor.

My Turn: Prosecute the fake voters
By Zandra Rice-Hawkins

Conservative and ethically-challenged activist James O’Keefe is back in the news, once again manufacturing edited videos to make a case he can’t produce with existing facts.

On New Hampshire’s Primary Day, O’Keefe and crew committed voter fraud at polling locations in Manchester and Nashua by impersonating recently deceased New Hampshire voters – some of whom had only passed away days ago – and then illegally filming their interactions with New Hampshire poll workers without knowledge or consent.

Those interactions can be seen on a video sent around by O’Keefe’s group, Project Veritas, in an effort to bolster support for a photo identification bill that would require a limited number of ways to prove your identity at the polls. A bill proposed at the State House last year failed after a bipartisan effort called NH House Speaker Bill O’Brien’s favored version “unworkable” and “flawed” for its excessive reliance on a driver’s license or national identification, something seniors, low-income voters and the disabled would have a hard time producing.

Mr. O’Keefe’s decision to break the law and disrupt New Hampshire’s Primary is being met with the contempt it should. First and foremost, the stunt was incredibly disrespectful to families still grieving over the loss of a loved one – one clip uses the name of a New Hampshire veteran less than 10 days passed. That alone should give one pause as to the credibility of Mr. O’Keefe.

The video itself provides additional clues. Like many previous O’Keefe productions, it is edited to portray only the message he would like you to believe, not the reality of what took place.

For example, it appears that O’Keefe specifically chose older individuals to impersonate and listed the ages of the recently deceased voter to make it appear as if someone should have questioned a 20-something year old voting for an 88-year old. But New Hampshire doesn’t list birthdates or ages on the voter file – a potential public policy point O’Keefe could have made if he wasn’t focused on manufacturing stories of fraud.

The video also shows only select footage, and purposely leaves out a clip where a New Hampshire poll worker busts the O’Keefe team when she realizes whose ballot they are trying to obtain. That story was covered in the Boston Herald the day of the Primary, but is not highlighted in O’Keefe’s version.

If anything, all this video proves is that localities do not update their deceased voter information often enough. What it does not prove is that voter fraud is a rampant problem in New Hampshire, outside of the staged actions of the individuals in question.

In fact, it suggests quite the opposite. O’Keefe did not have his team actually cast ballots because they assumed that was the moment they could be charged with voter fraud. Unfortunately for them – and good for election protection – even impersonating a New Hampshire voter is considered voter fraud under state and federal law. But more to the point: O’Keefe’s decision not to cast a ballot is a sign that the system and penalties in place deter would-be offenders.

How many people would actually risk prosecution to commit voter fraud, a felony offense? Not many. And if some did, could they do it on a scale large enough to swing an election and remain undetected? Election law experts remain skeptical, if not downright derisive of such a theory.

It’s like saying that a bank could be robbed, then filming yourself robbing it to prove your point. The possibility of voter fraud, even with photo identification, is always possible. The question policymakers need to consider is how real a threat it is, and whether the suggested changes would make it more difficult for thousands of Granite Staters to vote.

Of course, O’Keefe and his team did break the law and did film themselves doing it, and for whatever “public service” or “citizen journalist” cover they want to try to plea, they should be held accountable. In fact, based on state laws and statements by the Attorney General’s office, O’Keefe and his team now face several potential charges of voter fraud and identify theft, in addition to illegally filming individuals without their permission. In essence: they could possibly lose their own right to vote as a result of their misguided actions.

To which we say: good. We agree with the NH GOP Chair who stated, “Anyone involved in voter fraud should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

James O’Keefe should be prosecuted, and the New Hampshire public officials and candidates who are endorsing his illegal activities should reconsider the message they are sending.

Zandra Rice Hawkins
Director, Granite State Progress

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. It can be found online at www.GraniteStateProgress.org.

Legislative Series: HB 1161-Do you want Out of State Voters, Voting in your Town??

This is the next in a series of posts highlighting some of the blatant attacks on workers and Unions through legislation. We will also include some of the more Zany bills we have come across. This is also how we interpret the bill and what we believe it may mean for workers and families in New Hampshire.

Here is one that is a little odd?  With all the issue or false claims of Voter Fraud and Voter ID bills now Rep Warden is looking for a way to allow non-residents to vote in local elections. HB 1161: “AN ACT establishing a committee to study permitting nonresident property owners to vote in local elections.”

III. The committee shall consult with and solicit testimony from members of the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers and other similar organizations.
Duties. The committee shall study the matter of extending voting in local elections to nonresident property owners including those who are out-of-state residents and New Hampshire residents who live in another town or city.”

First of all, there are only four laws in NH to be allowed to vote (declareyourself.com).

  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a permanent established domicile in the State of New Hampshire
  • Not having been denied the right to vote by reason of a felony conviction

You must claim NH as you place of official residence.  If you remember this is exactly what got Speaker O’Brien’s son is hot water as he was officially registered to vote in Maine and actually voted in Mont Vernon.

The second part is that is strange is that the committee is forced to take input from the Coalition of NH Taxpayers. This to me sound like a TEA (Taxed Enough Already) organization.  Just read what they say about themselves.

Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers: “With an effective statewide effort we can control and even reduce the size of government at all levels, put a stop to judicial activism, provide students and parents with a choice of educational opportunities, expand our job market, and protect our ever shrinking property rights.
We are a 100% New Hampshire-only grassroots taxpayer advocacy group that strives to keep taxes low, government small and honest, protect individual rights and freedoms, and preserve the “New Hampshire Advantage”. We strongly believe that good government that serves the people should be limited and fiscally prudent.
Your individual contributions are what fuel the ‘grassroots’ effort against the intrusion and expansion of all levels of government.

To me it sounds like someone is trying to get more Out of State people to vote against local budget increases.


Previous Posts

HB-1574 A bill removing your lunch break.
HB-1200 A bill to reduce county budgets till the county shuts down.
HB 1427 Contracting out would Not Be an Unfair Labor Practice.
Legislative Good News Post.
HB 1174 – How Can the State Legislature Take Away Your Next Contract??

Another Look at Voter ID and the reasons we do not need it!

This is the next a s series of questions I have received from twitter and email in response to some of the posts here on the NH Labor News Network.


Over the past few months we have talked about the Voter ID bill.  The Voter ID bills do not directly effect labor however they effect the voting process.  The process of voting is one way that labor ensures that people who want to help workers are elected.  This brings me to the question of the day: “We need to make sure that our elections are free and fair. Why do you oppose measures like the Voter ID Bill that prevent voter fraud?”

To really answer this question we need to look at many things.  The two most important questions raised by Voter ID bills are: How many cases of voter fraud are there in New Hampshire? By enacting this Voter ID bill who may be harmed, or barred from voting?

The Voter ID bill raised many red flags across many states this year and New Hampshire is no exception. New Hampshire House and Senate passed SB129 (Voter ID bill).  This bill would require a state issued identification in order to vote in an election.  The problem is that voter fraud in not really an issue in New Hampshire or other states trying to pass similar laws.  In the 2004 elections there were two sustained cases of voter fraud in New Hampshire.  “Both of the cases involved voters voting from a an improper addresses”.  “This means  out of the 676,000 votes cast two were done with the intent to fraud the system.  That is a fraud rate of .0006%“.  So is voter fraud really a problem in New Hampshire? I would say no if less than one-thousandth of a per-cent of ballots were fraudulent.

The Voter ID does harm some people. We all know someone like my grandmother who now lives in a retirement home and is no longer allowed to drive.  She really has not driven in twenty years.  So many years ago she gave up he license.  According to the SB129 if she does not have a license she would not be allowed to exercise her Constitutional right to vote.  They would allow her to cast a “Provisional Ballot”, that IF she came back within three days and produces a valid identification her vote would be counted. Some people say “she can go get an ID from the state (for a small fee)”.  How is she going to do that? She cannot drive there or wait all day in line to get an ID.  These provisional ballots raise many more issues that need to be addressed as well.  Voting is your Constitutional right as an American. You votes are completely anonymous.  If you cast a “Provisional” ballot your votes would have to be segregated from other ballots until you produce a ID.  What if your ballot is lost? Is your ballot still secret if someone has to verify it is yours? Who will be in charge of keeping track of these “Provisional” ballots?

Voter ID bills is another way to solve a problem that does not exist and in turn keep other people from voting.  Some states have gone so far as to say a college student who resides in New Hampshire (for example) but is from Maine cannot vote in the election in their college town because they have a Valid drivers license  from Maine. Or worse a State Trooper can show his work badge but a police officer from Merrimack cannot use his work badge because it is not State issued.  For all of these reasons Voter ID bills should not pass. Thankfully we have a Governor in New Hampshire who understands these issues.

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