Republicans in New Hampshire, including one operative who wrote an autobiographical book on election fraud, say that President Donald Trump’s insistence that he lost the state because of a surge of illegal voting is not just bunk but pernicious.
“While they’re at it, can they find out who really killed Nicole Brown Simpson?” asked Allen Raymond, the author of the book How to Rig an Election and a three-month veteran of federal prison for his role in the 2002 New Hampshire Senate election phone-jamming scandal. “The conspiracy being alleged would be on the scale of the Manhattan Project.”
The reactions come just days after Trump privately told a group of senators that he believed he would have won the Granite State in the 2016 election had it not been for “thousands” of people brought in by bus from Massachusetts to vote illegally. According to sources, the senators in the room were left “uncomfortable” by the remarks, considering there is no credible evidence that such fraud occurred and since Trump still ended up in the White House despite losing New Hampshire and the popular vote.
This is delusional." Fergus Cullen, former chair of New Hampshire Republican Party
But the administration persisted. On Sunday, a top Trump aide, Stephen Miller, continued to assert illegal voters were bussed in and that operatives working in the state were well aware of the conspiracy.
“I can tell you that this issue … is widely known by anyone who’s worked in New Hampshire politics. It’s very real, it’s very serious,” Miller said.
In fact, those who have worked in New Hampshire politics said they are utterly perplexed by what Miller is discussing.
“This is delusional,” said Fergus Cullen, the former chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party. “It is completely and utterly false and shouldn’t be taken seriously by anybody. Stephen Miller said anyone who has been involved in New Hampshire elections knows about this stuff. That is completely at odds with the truth. The truth is everyone involved in New Hampshire knows this stuff doesn’t happen.”
There are both benign and non-benign explanations for why Trump and his aides continue to push these claims. New Hampshire does allow for same-day voter registration, Cullen noted, and it is possible for people to show up on Election Day, say they’re a resident, register to vote and cast a ballot. But you still have to sign an affidavit saying that you’re a resident. And in the entirety of the time that New Hampshire has had this system, there has never been evidence of the widespread fraud that Trump is alleging.
“No one has snapped a picture of a bus unloading people at a polling station,” said Cullen.
As Raymond noted, even in the relatively few instances of people committing voting fraud, it doesn’t always follow that it’s a Democrat behind the act. And as for the idea that people might be registered to vote in two states ― which Trump surrogate Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, highlighted Monday in a CNN interview as uniquely problematic ― that is merely a reflection of current demographic realities.
“People move and register to vote, or share a name, or a name and a birth date, or all of those while living in the same town or city,” Raymond said. “Those instances don’t constitute voter fraud but are indications of how the world works within an imperfect system.”
Trump’s aides certainly know this, since some of them are registered to vote in multiple states. All of which has led others to suggest that Trump’s continued focus on voter fraud is not some sort of bruised-ego response to having lost the popular vote, but rather an attempt to lay the predicate for a national voter ID movement. Michael Biudno, another New Hampshire GOP operative who’s worked on multiple campaigns there, hinted this was the point in a tweet on Monday afternoon.
For now, Raymond said, Trump would be better served in having his Department of Justice investigate his specific claims. And should they fail to do so, or fail to come up with evidence that fraud exists on the scale alleged ― as Raymond suspects ― it would inject a dose of sanity back into the conversation.
“As I am a felon who was incarcerated after taking ownership of my conduct in NH in 2002, and being one who prizes our republic and the freedoms and responsibilities with which it is accompanied ― I encourage President Trump and the proper authorities to mount a full-scale investigation in order to identify and prosecute the perpetrators and conspirators involved in the election fraud,” Raymond said. “I have great faith in the rule of law; the law being king, and trust the President to see to the end that the law is upheld and violators are brought to justice for the sake of the republic.”
Want more updates from Sam Stein? Sign up for his newsletter, Spam Stein, here.