Reporter's notebook

Trump Claims Thousands Voted Illegally In NH. Officials Found 5.

A voter enters a booth, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, at a polling place in Exeter, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
June 4, 2018 11:46 am

New Hampshire has been at the center of President Trump’s insistent claims of voter fraud. Shortly after the election, he singled out New Hampshire as one of three states in which he claimed, without evidence, there was “serious fraud.” He’s also repeatedly claimed that thousands of people were bused from Massachusetts to vote “illegally” in the state. And many voters seem to believe his claims; according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll released last Sunday, 48 percent of Republicans said they believed 3 to 5 million people voted illegally nationwide — the same number Trump alleged, without a shred of evidence, in the months after the election.

To put those striking numbers into context, take a look at a review that New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner (D) released last week on voter fraud allegations in the state. The Crosscheck program — a interstate voter-rolls comparison system championed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), but criticized for its abundance of false positives — flagged nearly 95,000 New Hampshire names as multistate registrations, suggesting possible fraud. But when state officials took a closer look, they only considered 142 to be possible matches, and, ultimately, only sent 51 to the state attorney general’s office for investigation.

New Hampshire Associate Attorney General Anne Edwards, meanwhile, said this week that of the 28 wrongful voting allegations that have been sent to her office since September 2016, only five cases involved wrongfully cast votes — one of which was the fault of an election official who gave a student incorrect information about where the student should be voting.

Amid these paltry numbers of actual voter fraud, New Hampshire Republicans are pushing a residency requirement measure that would make it harder for students to vote in the state. The GOP-led legislature has passed the bill, but Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has asked the state Supreme Court to review the legislation before he signs it. On Friday, various groups submitted court briefs debating the legality of the bill. The arguments put forward by the Republican lawmakers were… well… interesting.

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