Kobach faces pushback on New Hampshire voter fraud comments

Posted September 14, 2017

The Trump administration's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity met in New Hampshire on Tuesday to take testimony on voter turnout and investigate whether widespread voter fraud exists.

Just as the hearing got underway Tuesday morning, a judge with the Hillsborough County Superior Court South weighed in on another challenge to New Hampshire voting rights. Palmer, the former Virginia State Board of Elections secretary, similarly tried to hunt for supposed duplicate voting. Kobach has claimed that those results are suspect because out-of-state voters may have cast ballots for the Democrats. Kelly Ayotte lost by razor-thin margins last fall, have borne the brunt of these allegations. On Tuesday, the state was once again a national focus, this time as ground zero in the debate over the integrity of elections here and across the country.

In New Hampshire, someone can be domiciled in the state and legally vote without being a resident or possessing a state driver's license. "Which has been interpreted to mean that you spend most of your nights in the state". Anyone who fails to provide the necessary evidence may be fined and prosecuted for voter fraud. Top New Hampshire Democrats have urged Gardner, a Democrat who has served more than four decades as secretary of state, to quit the commission.

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"Poll workers told Veritas operatives that they did not need to live in the state to vote, that they could use a MA driver's license and that they could fill out a form if they had no ID", Scarborough recounted. It is a role based entirely on citizens freely exercising our most fundamental right - the right to vote.

But as Ari Berman and Pema Levy point out in Mother Jones, "there's a far simpler and less nefarious explanation for what happened: It's legal to use an out-of-state driver's license as ID at the polls in New Hampshire". I strongly believe that to improve the integrity of our elections, we should be making it easier for people to vote, not harder. "And that's not the case in Kansas", says Democracy advocate Jane Byrnes, among the group gathered in Wichita Tuesday. He is also a paid columnist for Breitbart, recently alleging that thousands of out-of-state voters cast ballots in New Hampshire, tipping the 2016 results to Hillary Clinton. Gupta also argues in the piece that "Instead of looking for ways to restrict the vote, which is the unspoken mission of the commission, we should be looking for ways to expand the vote". And they've been fueled by politicians such as former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who claimed that Bay State voters followed him across the border in 2014 when he relocated to New Hampshire for a second run at the Senate. The entire enterprise was built on a falsehood - Mr. Trump's claim that millions of noncitizens voted in the election, a whopper so enormous and so often debunked that its continued circulation, particularly among Trump supporters, raises serious doubts about whether mere fact-checking and truth-telling can ever penetrate such a closely-held, hyper-partisan belief. Since the election, the vast majority of them have not obtained a New Hampshire license or registered a motor vehicle.

Democrats in Washington have resisted those claims, saying reports of fraud are rare and barriers to voting are bigger issues. "I think it's a reckless statement to make", Dunlap said. There may be instances on both sides (Republican and Democrats) where "overzealous" voters wish to vote twice, King stated, "But, I would venture to say, thousands upon thousands more people are stricken from voter rolls without justifiable cause or have their vote suppressed". It could be taking a hard look at how to encourage states to explore virtually hack-proof vote-by-mail systems like the one OR uses.

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Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap is hoping the panel's work will put the issue to rest.

When the conservative investigative group Project Veritas planted hidden cameras to record what went on during New Hampshire's 2016 primary, it discovered some disturbing information.

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