Many In N.H. Politics Pan Trump's Unfounded Voter Fraud Claims

Feb 13, 2017

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  Party leaders on both sides of the aisle are defending New Hampshire's electoral system in the wake of another unsubstantiated claim by President Donald Trump that there's massive voter fraud happening in the state.

"Let me be as unequivocal as possible: allegations of voter fraud in NH are baseless, without any merit-it's shameful to spread these fantasies," wrote former N.H. Attorney General Tom Rath, also a longtime Republican strategist, in a tweet Sunday.

Trump made the claim again during a meeting last week with Congressional leaders, telling them that he and former Sen. Kelly Ayotte would have won in New Hampshire were it not for the thousands of Massachusetts residents "brought in on buses" to vote illegally in the state.

Trump's Senior Policy Advisor Stephen Miller repeated Trump's claim - without citing any evidence - during an apperance Sunday morning on "ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous."

"Having worked before on a campaign in New Hampshire, I can tell you that this issue of busing voters into New Hampshire is widely known by anyone who's worked in New Hampshire politics. It's very real. It's very serious. This morning on this show is not the venue for me to lay out all the evidence."

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen called the Trump administration's claim "a dangerous lie." 

"There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever or major voter fraud in New Hampshire's elections. President Trump continues to spread a dangerous lie and it's long past time for Republican leadership in New Hampshire to stand up and defend our state's electoral system," Shaheen wrote.

New Hampshire Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey weighed in early Monday morning in a tweet, writing: "Repeating: there is no voter fraud in NH. None. Zip. Nada. Hundreds of lawyers, poll workers, watchers, press -no buses rolled in." 

Republican House Speaker Shawn Jasper also pushed back against Trump's comments.

"There is no evidence that I have seen that people were bused here from anywhere," Jasper said, according to WMUR. "But the president's comments go to the heart of the problem. There is a perception that we lack voter security, and we will be working very hard to address that."

Gov. Chris Sununu made a claim identical to Trump's during the campaign.

"The Democrats got very sly. When they first took over in the late nineties and early 2000s, they changed the election law," Sununu said in an interview with the Boston-based Howie Carr Show. "We have the same-day voter registration, and to be honest when Massachusetts elections are not very close, they're busing them in all over the place." 

Sununu walked back those comments, but is pushing for the state to implement stricter residency requirements.

Trump first made the claim back in November, following the election, in a tweet: "Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire, California - so why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias - big problem!" 

At the time, Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan said there was no evidence to back up Trump's claim, 

"There are some isolated instances of individual voters voting improperly. Those have been passed along to the attorney general's office...but we haven't had any complaints about any wide-scale voter fraud taking place."