NH Dems Demand Sec. of State Quit Trump Voter Fraud Panel After Kobach Controversy

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., right, and U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., center, listen to Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin, left, during a visit to the Veterans Administration Medical Center in, Manchester, N.H., Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Shulkin earlier met privately with doctors at the center, who have alleged substandard care at New Hampshire's only hospital for veterans. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/AP

New Hampshire’s top Democrats are calling on their state’s (nominally) Democratic secretary of state to resign from President Trump’s voter fraud commission after its head made some wild claims that out-of-state voters tipped the state’s Senate race last fall and possibly cost Trump the state.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who heads the panel, repeated unfounded claims that Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) narrowly defeated then-Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) because out-of-state voters flocked into New Hampshire on election day, claiming in a Breitbart column that new “proof” exists to show that happened because of a flawed study.

That study showed thousands of people with out-of-state licenses voted in the state, and that new applications for licenses in-state didn’t cover those numbers. The problem: New Hampshire doesn’t require people to have in-state licenses to vote so long as they are residents of the state (like many college students).

Kobach’s fringe opinions are no shock. But the presence of New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner (D) on the panel, giving Trump and Kobach bipartisan cover from the country’s longest-serving secretary of state, has infuriated local Democrats, as TPM wrote. And Kobach’s comments questioning the validity of the state’s elections ahead of a scheduled meeting of the panel in New Hampshire next week was the last straw for many of them.

“It has been clear since its inception that President Trump’s voting commission is an attempt to grossly mislead voters and lay the groundwork for broad-scale, politically motivated voter suppression. Now, the head of President Trump’s misguided commission is using deceiving and irrelevant data to rehash the same false claims that have been debunked time and again by independent analysis and members of both parties in New Hampshire,” Hassan and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said in a joint statement. “Secretary Gardner’s association with this partisan commission risks tarnishing his long legacy of fighting for the New Hampshire Primary and promoting voter participation, and it would be in keeping with his distinguished record to immediately relinquish any role with this commission.”

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) joined the calls.

There is growing sentiment among Democrats that Gardner, who is revered in both parties for fighting to keep New Hampshire’s primary first in the nation, is quickly running out of goodwill within the party. As TPM wrote, if Democrats retake the state legislature next election he may not be a lock to keep his job.

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