Republican State Rep.: Out-of-State Students Shouldn't Be Allowed to Vote In N.H.

Sep 12, 2017

The Trump administration’s commission on voting issues is meeting today at St. Anselm College in Manchester. The meeting comes amid a debate over the purpose of this commission.

Republican State Representative Fred Doucette of Salem, co-chair of President Donald Trump's campaign in New Hampshire, is in attendance. He spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello.

Note: this transcript has been lightly edited for clarity. 

Critics say that this commission is nothing but a set up for the conclusion that the president and Kris Kobach, the chair of the commission, have already come to, which is that voter fraud is widespread, particularly in New Hampshire. What do you have to save those critics?

First and foremost I'd want to see them hear out the committee and let them do their work. Before you rush to judgment on you know on any level the rumors of widespread voter fraud - buses of people - I didn't witness anything of that sort but I did witness an awful lot. I live in Salem which is a border town and I did witness an awful lot of Massachusetts tag cars in my polling places. So - and I actually had interactions with people after they voted... I'm going to reserve the commentary that was thrown my way over there. But I would first and foremost say you know people need to let be let the commission do their work. And you know see it through to the end before you rush to judgment.

I personally am of the belief - and this is my personal belief - I was and I'm a Navy veteran. We have people that work the Portsmouth shipyard that are active duty Navy personnel or any branch of the military for that matter. Those folks have to vote by absentee ballot to their home state. Why is it we allow for all these students who claim a dorm room as a domicile? You know it's my belief they shouldn't they should be voting absentee ballot in their own state - their home state. So that could account for a number of those votes that are in question.

I just want to make sure that our listeners are clear about a few things you mentioned, which is that you know it is legal to, for example, have a Massachusetts license plate and vote in New Hampshire. That on its face is not illegal, nor is it illegal for a college student that meets the requirements to vote here in New Hampshire. So on its face, it doesn't seem like having a Massachusetts license plate is automatically indicative of voter fraud if you're voting in New Hampshire.

Absolutely not and I'm not suggesting that. But when a few individuals engaged me on the way out...and whether true or not made statements that they didn't live in the state and they vote in the state, you know there's no way that I can prove that they were telling me the truth. But it is what it is. In my estimation we shouldn't have a double standard for an active duty military when we could do the same for people who are registered as out-of-state students. I'm not suggesting it's illegal - it's perfectly legal. But I think it's something that we need to look at - being one of those fifteen states that allows for same day registration.

Do you believe that this committee is taking an honest look at the extent to which voter fraud is a problem thus far?

They've only had one meeting. So I would certainly assume so I know our Secretary of State Bill Gardner is the upstanding guy he wants to hear all the facts, and I know with his history that he will give a genuine opinion when he hears all the evidence and testimony. Sure.

And Kris Kobach said in the conservative website Breitbart that out-of-state voters changed the outcome of the New Hampshire Senate race, and he was referring to that New Hampshire voter data released last week that showed a high percentage of voters who used out-of-state licenses to vote didn't go ahead and get New Hampshire licenses or register a vehicle in the state. Does Kris Kobach's interpretation of this data concern you at all?

Well I don't I don't think anybody...should be making public statements until they hear all the evidence. I can't say I know if I sat on the commission like that I wouldn't be making public statements so I heard all the testimony so you have to take everything into account. He was quoting the information. He definitely should have shouldn't have made a judgment.

So do you feel his judgment was incorrect?

Do I feel his judgment was incorrect? I feel his judgment judgment was inappropriate at the time. So I have my own personal opinion and I'm going to hold off on that. But this is all said and done. But I think that there is there's a real gray area in this that needs to be examined and hopefully we can get to the bottom of it.

Republican Representative Fred Doucette thank you very much for speaking with me.

My pleasure.