New Hampshire election officials dug into claims there was widespread voter fraud in the state during the 2016 presidential election and found no evidence to support his claim.
In fact, the officials didn’t find much evidence of fraud at all.
Donald Trump lost in New Hampshire to Hillary Clinton by 2,732 votes, but he said he would have won had it not been for people bused into the state to illegally cast ballots. He has offered no evidence to support that claim.
During a presentation to the state’s Ballot Law Commission on Tuesday, election officials said that 6,033 of the 86,952 people who voted on Election Day did not present a photo ID and signed an affidavit that they were eligible to vote in New Hampshire, according to WMUR. Of those 6,033, the state secretary of state’s office verified that all except for 458 were legitimate voters, WMUR reported. The state attorney general investigated those 458 cases and verified they were eligible voters in all but 66 cases.
The data offer a significant rebuttal to one of Trump’s most specific allegations of voter fraud. Even though several studies and investigations have shown voter fraud is not a widespread problem, Trump has repeatedly claimed that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election. He convened a federal commission in May to investigate the issue but disbanded it in January before it scrutinized much. One of the panel’s two public meetings was in New Hampshire in September, and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), the body’s vice chairman, said he had evidence the U.S. Senate election there was swayed by illegal votes, but New Hampshire election officials refuted his claims.
There’s no evidence that millions of people voted illegally in 2016, but a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll found that 56 percent of Republicans and 23 percent of Democrats surveyed said they believe it took place.
Anne Edwards, a New Hampshire associate attorney general, told the Ballot Law Commission that her office received complaints of buses with out-of-state licenses plates showing up at the polls in 2014 and 2016, WMUR reported. When the attorney general’s office investigated, it determined that the buses were rented from out of state but were used to transport legitimate voters to the polls. She also said the attorney general’s office has investigated 28 complaints of wrongful voting and found just five to be “founded,” according to the Associated Press.
Bradford Cook, the chairman of the Ballot Law Commission, requested the presentation from state officials because of heightened concerned about election integrity.
“What the president said isn’t true,” he said. “People making wild and irresponsible charges about the integrity of the basic step in democracy — just because they lose an election and can’t get it through their head that people might have voted for somebody else — is destructive.”
New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner (D) used a system called Interstate Crosscheck, run by Kobach, to compare the state’s voter rolls with those of more than two dozen other states to identify possible double voters. The system identified 94,610 people registered in New Hampshire who had the same date of birth and first and last name as a registered voter in one of the other states. When investigators looked further, they found that all but 142 ― about 0.02 percent ― were legal voters in New Hampshire, AP reported.
Gardner’s sent 51 of those cases to the attorney general for review and is waiting for more information about the rest.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is weighing whether to sign a measure that would change the residency requirements for people to vote in New Hampshire. Current law reads that people may vote in the state if they intend to remain there more than in any other place “for the indefinite future.” The bill would remove that phrase from eligibility criteria — excluding, for example, short-term residents and out-of-state college students. Critics of the proposed measure say it would amount to a poll tax because anyone who met the qualifications to register to vote in the state would also have to register a vehicle there, but the bill’s Republican supporters say the current law is inconsistent and the new one wouldn’t put up obstacles to registering.
Ray Buckley, the chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said the data from the presentation offered evidence that a change in the law was unnecessary.