A few days before President Donald Trump’s “election integrity” commission meets in New Hampshire on Tuesday, its vice chair, Kris Kobach, published a column in Breitbart claiming “proof” that voter fraud in the state tipped the election against Trump and Republican Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte. Kobach cited numbers released by the state’s Republican House speaker showing that 6,540 people voted in New Hampshire on Election Day using out-of-state driver’s licenses as ID. “It seems that they never were bona fide residents of the State,” Kobach concluded. (This claim echoed one made in February by Trump, who told senators, with no evidence, that “thousands” were “brought in on buses” from Massachusetts to “illegally” vote in New Hampshire.)
But there’s a far simpler and less nefarious explanation for what happened: It’s legal to use an out-of-state driver’s license as ID at the polls in New Hampshire. The people who did so didn’t drive in New Hampshire or own a car there or plan to reside permanently in the state. College students quickly came forward to say they’d voted legitimately using out-of-state licenses. (The places where out-of-state licenses were used most frequently were all college towns.) The fraud Kobach cited was nothing of the sort.
As the commission meets Tuesday for the second time to discuss potential changes to the way Americans vote, its members have been busy promoting falsehoods like these, exacerbating concerns that they’ll use any pretense to restrict access to the ballot under the guise of eliminating voter fraud. The witness list for the meeting—100 percent white men—includes people who have floated radical ideas like requiring background checks for voting.