Voting rights and potential fraud remain politically charged issues in New Hampshire, but the state’s new elections investigator said he’s ignoring the partisan divide and focusing on his job. The hiring of Orville “Bud” Fitch by the secretary of state’s office comes as Republican lawmakers have increasingly sought to tighten voter registration and other election laws. The Republican-led Legislature included the new investigator position to enforce election laws in the state budget, and it passed legislation requiring the secretary of state’s office to look into cases in which address verification letters sent to voters are returned by the postal service as undeliverable. Fitch said he was confident in his ability to get the job done and “to provide professional and thorough work.”
Ohio: Grand jury rejects charges against 17 identified in Jon Husted’s illegal voting probe | Cleveland Plain Dealer
A grand jury voted not to charge 17 Cuyahoga County residents who were among dozens of non-U.S. citizens identified by Ohio Sec. of State Jon Husted’s office as illegally voting or registering to vote in past elections. The grand jury voted late Tuesday not to hand up false voter registration charges against 16 people, and not to charge a 17th person with illegal voting, according to court documents made public Wednesday. The dates of offenses listed in court records date back to September 1996. Voter fraud cases can be hard to bring because investigators must show the voter knew they were not allowed to register to vote or cast a ballot.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said he’s received reports from several voting locations where Alabamians who voted in the Aug. 15 Democratic primary were attempting to cast ballots in Tuesday’s GOP runoff. According to Alabama state law, that’s considered voter fraud and is illegal. State residents are prohibited to vote in one party’s primary and later voting in the other party’s runoff election. The process, deemed “crossover voting,” was made illegal earlier this year in an attempt to limit cross-party candidate selection as Alabamians are not required to register to a specific party to vote, but may only vote in one party’s primary.
As President Trump’s voter integrity commission looks under rocks for possible voter malfeasance, its members might want to examine a presidential nominee awaiting confirmation by the Senate Finance Committee. Documents indicate that Jeffrey Gerrish, the president’s pick to be a deputy United States Trade Representative, moved from Virginia to Maryland last year, but opted in November to vote in the more competitive state of Virginia than his bright blue new home. The Senate Finance Committee, which has been considering Mr. Gerrish’s nomination, was briefed on the matter on Tuesday, including the fact that Mr. Gerrish had almost certainly voted illegally, according to three Democratic congressional aides familiar with the briefing. Public records back up that notion.
During the 2016 election cycle, Donald Trump infamously sought to cast doubt on the integrity of voting systems by arguing that if he lost his supporters should interpret the defeat as proof of a rigged election. He even said he wouldn’t concede unless he won. After his surprising victory, Trump argued that as many as 5 million votes cast illegally during the 2016 presidential election cost him the popular vote. Numerous fact checkers have judged the statement to be false, and the country’s secretaries of state have certified their elections and found no evidence of widespread wrongdoing, but questions about voter fraud persist. No doubt, such questions will live on for some time, and they will do so even if Trump’s commission on voter fraud doesn’t find the massive wrongdoing the president is looking for. Against this worrisome backdrop, it’s good news to read that a recent study by Colorado’s secretary of state, Wayne Williams, in conjunction with counterparts in four other states, found scant evidence of fraud.
Secretary of State Dennis Richardson announced last week that his office has uncovered 54 instances of what could be voter fraud during Oregon’s November 2016 election. The announcement comes at a time when the nation still is dealing with unproven allegations that millions of people voted illegally during the election, a claim that led to the establishment of a presidential commission on electoral integrity. We still think that commission is pursuing a not-so-secret agenda to impose tighter restrictions on voting, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that it will simply run out of steam.
The numbers aren’t there. Those who are convinced that widespread voter fraud is affecting the outcome of elections — including the unsubstantiated claim by President Trump that between 3 million and 5 million people voted illegally in last year’s presidential election, costing him the popular vote — will frequently point to anecdotes and hearsay to support their claims. But they can’t come up with the verified statistics to back those allegations. Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the Republican who won her second term in November, announced Friday the results of a five-state review of the 2016 General Election that checked for instances of potential voter fraud, including people who voted in this state and another, those who voted twice in Washington state and those who voted using the registration of a deceased individual.
Secretary of State Corey Stapleton said in a letter read by his chief of staff to a legislative committee Thursday that he never made any allegations of 360 cases of voter fraud in the May 25 special election and that media reports were incorrect. “I made no such statement,” Stapleton said in the Sept. 14 letter to Sen. Sue Malek, chair of the State Administration and Veterans Affairs Interim Committee. And he added he would “ask you to correct the public record to the extent that you can.” Malek had invited Stapleton to the meeting saying she wanted him to come and provide more information on the “360 cases of voter fraud” that he discussed at SAVA’s July 20 meeting.
Identified cases of voter fraud are rare in North Dakota, but weaknesses in the election system and lack of prosecution does leave room for getting away with it, according to information from the North Dakota Secretary of State’s Office. “While some individuals argue that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, there are others who argue the exact opposite. Regardless, the truth is that under the current forms of election administration, it is not possible to establish whether widespread voter fraud does or does not exist because it is difficult to determine either way when proof is not required of voters when registering or prior to voting,” Secretary of State Al Jaeger wrote to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. When cases are suspected, he wrote, “This office has often been informed the State’s Attorneys have cases of ‘greater consequence’ on which to focus. Unfortunately, there can be no convictions when there is no will to prosecute.”
A newly released report from the New Hampshire Secretary of State and Department of Safety says a majority of people who used out-of-state IDs to register in last November’s elections haven’t registered vehicles in New Hampshire or gotten in-state drivers licenses in the months since. While this data alone doesn’t provide proof of voter fraud, as NHPR has noted before, it’s quickly become fodder in an ongoing debate about New Hampshire’s voting requirements. The data came in response to a request from House Speaker Shawn Jasper, who said he was seeking the statistics in part to inform future voting law changes. Among other things, Jasper asked for information on whether those who register to vote in New Hampshire also obtain driver’s licenses or car registrations here.