Bill Gardner

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

The Trump administration’s election commission has gone largely silent since its September meeting in Manchester. But one of its members, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, says even he is having trouble finding out basic information about the commission’s work — and he’s now filing a lawsuit seeking more transparency.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Bud Fitch is a familiar face around New Hampshire’s Statehouse and its broader political circles. He’s served as deputy attorney general, as Gov. John Lynch’s so-called "stimulus czar" and as a top staffer for former Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

Since August, Fitch has been working under Secretary of State Bill Gardner in a newly created position as a dedicated attorney focusing on election law.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s participation on President Trump’s election commission has earned him criticism that he’s undercutting his decades of work as New Hampshire’s top elections official. Gardner, for his part, says he’s taking part in the controversial commission “in [his] personal capacity.”

Still, over the past five months since the commission was formed, state workers — including Gardner's staff assistant and attorneys employed by the New Hampshire Secretary of State — have repeatedly been called upon to carry out work related to the commission, apparently on state time.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

The Trump administration’s election commission met in New Hampshire on Tuesday, putting a national spotlight on the state’s election processes. Also in the spotlight was the man who’s been in charge of New Hampshire elections for the last four decades.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan called on Secretary of State Bill Gardner to resign from President Trump’s voting commission, after the chair of that same commission wrote a Breitbart column casting doubt on the outcome of last November’s election results in New Hampshire.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

A federal oversight agency’s review of how New Hampshire is spending $18 million in federal election money finds that the state, for the most part, follows the rules. But the back-and-forth within the audit illuminates a larger and long-running tension between the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office and the federal elections officials.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A pair of lawsuits were filed Wednesday challenging a controversial new voting law, SB3, just weeks before the law is set to take effect.

One legal challenge comes from the New Hampshire Democratic Party. The other is filed on behalf of the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire and three individual would-be voters.

White House Livestream

A lawsuit that sought to restrict New Hampshire's ability to share voter information with the Trump administration’s election integrity commission was resolved in court Monday. 

Both sides compromised on a plan to allow Secretary of State Bill Gardner to share scanned, unsearchable copies of local voter checklists from all wards across the state— not the larger, digitized version of that information that is collected in the central statewide voter database.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A New Hampshire lawsuit seeking to block the state from complying with a request for voter data from the Trump administration's "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity" is back on, after a renewed request from that commission was sent out Wednesday.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: July 21, 2017

Jul 21, 2017

Two top officials at the VA Medical Center in Manchester were removed after a Boston Globe report detailing  allegations of substandard care at the facility.  New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner attends the first official meeting of the Trump administration’s election integrity commission.  And New Hampshire became the 22nd state and the last state in New England to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Secretary of State Bill Gardner returned to New Hampshire Thursday after traveling to Washington earlier this week for his first meeting as a member of the Trump administration's election commission.

White House Livestream

Secretary of State Bill Gardner used his opening remarks at the inaugural meeting of the Trump administration’s voting integrity commission to call for closer examination of the value of photo ID laws and other measures that, he says, improve public confidence in elections.

Sheryl Rich-Kern for NHPR

Update: The hearing was postponed Tuesday morning at the request of the New Hampshire ACLU, pending further legal action at the federal level.

One of the first legal challenges related to the Trump administration’s request for state voter files will go before a judge in Nashua Tuesday, as part of a lawsuit filed last week by the New Hampshire ACLU and two state lawmakers.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner said he intended to share information from the state’s public voter checklists with a newly launched Trump administration commission, plenty of people were quick to decry the move as an “invasion of privacy.”

The President's Election Integrity Commission's request for state voter checklist information set off lots of concerns about voter privacy. Some states, including Maine, have refused to cooperate.  Others, like New Hampshire, have said they'll comply, but only with information that's already publicly available. 


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Sununu says New Hampshire should turn over public information on voters to a Trump administration voter fraud commission, a view shared by the state's top election official, Secretary of State Bill Gardner. But Gardner says the matter is under review by the Attorney General.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

This story has been updated.

Secretary of State Bill Gardner says New Hampshire will turn over publicly available voter checklist information to the Trump administration’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, of which he is a member — but the state's still determining how it will share that information, and whether it will ask the commission to pay any money for it.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner says he has heard almost nothing from the White House in the two weeks since he agreed to join President Donald Trump's election integrity commission.

Gardner told the Concord Monitor he got a call May 10 letting him know that the commission's creation was going public but he doesn't know when it will start meeting, how much time it will take or what his role includes.

NHPR Staff

New Hampshire residents can continue to safely snap photos inside the voting booth, after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the state’s request for an appeal in a years-long battle over so-called “ballot selfies.”

Still, even after multiple judges have ruled the ban unconstitutional, Secretary of State Bill Gardner says he’s still not giving up on finding a way to wall off the practice. 

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Lawmakers heard input Tuesday on a bill that, if left unchanged, could drastically expand the power of the Secretary of State’s office.

Josh Rogers for NHPR

The ritual formality of the state’s Electoral College vote was observed in the Executive Council chambers in Concord Monday: ballots were cast, documents were signed and sealed with wax.

The outcome was as ordained by the local results: New Hampshire's four votes, from four Democratic electors, went to Hillary Clinton. But the sting of the election – at least for Democrats -- remained visceral.

Demonstrators chanted outside the statehouse.

“Recount the vote, recount the vote, recount the vote."

Casey McDermott, NHPR

It’s not unusual for local officials across New Hampshire to be asked to turn over emails or other records under the state’s right-to-know law. In Manchester, City Clerk Matt Normand estimates his office receives about 100 such requests each year.

It is unusual, however, for a city to be on the receiving end of a public records request from the state itself.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Bill Gardner, best known as the guardian of New Hampshire’s First in the Nation Presidential Primary,  was elected to his 21st consecutive term as Secretary of State Wednesday.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

When New Hampshire voters walk into the polls Tuesday, they’ll be greeted by a process that has remained largely unchanged for decades: paper ballots, filled out by hand, with voter rolls monitored by pencil-wielding clerks. And the way the state’s top election official sees it, there’s little reason to mess with a good thing.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The way Secretary of State Bill Gardner sees it, Granite State elections have gone on under dire circumstances before. This year, he thinks New Hampshire will be able to handle whatever’s in store this year on Election Day.

NHPR Staff

A New Hampshire law banning photographs of marked ballots has been struck down by the first circuit court of appeals.

The ruling marks the second time a federal court has found so-called ballot selfies permissible under the first amendment.

New Hampshire's law, which took effect in 2014 made displaying a picture of a marked ballot a crime punishable by a $1000 fine. 

The theory behind the law, championed by NH secretary of state Bill Gardner, is that permitting people to prove how they voted, opened the door to potential voter coercion.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner took some criticism in the Senate Thursday over his role in overseeing local elections.

Speaking in favor of a bill that aims to help cities and towns better manage local elections, Sen. David Pierce criticized Gardner - repeatedly.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Last week we took a closer look at the most vigorous defender of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary: Secretary of State Bill Gardner.

Over the past four decades, Gardner has met nearly every candidate to run for president. That access has provided him a fair share of stories -- so many stories, in fact, that we couldn't find room for even a fraction of them all.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

For the past two weeks, presidential candidates have been handing in the paperwork needed to qualify for the New Hampshire primary ballot. In doing so, they also come face to face with Secretary of State Bill Gardner, whose office oversees the election. He's also the man most responsible for ensuring that New Hampshire has retained its first-in-the-nation status when it comes to the presidential primary calendar.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

The presidential candidates who start parading through Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s office this week might do well to pay special attention to the desk that’ll be on display nearby — its original owner is to thank (or blame) for why they’re spending so much time in New Hampshire these days.

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