According to state records on same-day voter registration, 212 Vermonters were among the 6,540 people who registered to vote in New Hampshire on Election Day using an out-of-state license.
President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission has been investigating the possibility that thousands of out-of-state voters may have influenced the 2016 New Hampshire election.
“Facts have come to light that indicate that a pivotal, close election was likely changed through voter fraud on November 8, 2016: New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate Seat, and perhaps also New Hampshire’s four electoral college votes in the presidential election,” Kris Kobach, vice chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, wrote in an op-ed for Breitbart News in September.
The race to which Kobach refers was between incumbent Republican U.S. Sen.Kelly Ayotte and Democrat challenger Maggie Hassan, who won by just 1,017 votes.
According to Kobach, as of Aug. 30, only 1,014 of the 6,540 out-of-state licensed same-day registrants obtained a New Hampshire driver’s license. State law requires new residents to obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license within 60 days of new residency.
According to state data, 213 of the out-of-state voters went on to register a vehicle in New Hampshire, but did not switch their license.
In addition to concerns that perhaps thousands of out-of-staters voted illegally in New Hampshire, 196 of the same-day out-of-state voters were found to have double-voted, meaning they had already voted in another state.
Critics of Kobach’s assertions claim that the voters in question may have attained domicile status, a quasi-resident classification for those who reside in the state without a permanent address — often college students.
“The law clearly states that college students and other New Hampshire residents can vote without a New Hampshire ID, and these false partisan claims are deliberately twisting the facts,” Democratic U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan said in a joint statement on Sept. 7.
While domiciled residents generally must comply with state law and get a state-issued ID, Rick Bailey, assistant commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Safety, which overseas the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles, told True North that some domiciled residents do not have to obtain a state ID.
“There certainly are a number of scenarios where it’s perfectly legit to vote with an out-of-state ID. … People move around and get job offerings, for example,” he said.
However, he said state statute defines residency as it applies to motor vehicle laws, and if that definition is met, the 60-day limit applies.
Section 21:6 of the New Hampshire Revised Statutes, defines legal “residents” or “inhabitants” as those who have demonstrated the intent to make their New Hampshire abode their principal dwelling exclusively.
A resident or inhabitant or both of this state and of any city, town or other political subdivision of this state shall be a person who is domiciled or has a place of abode or both in this state and in any city, town or other political subdivision of this state, and who has, through all of his actions, demonstrated a current intent to designate that place of abode as his principal place of physical presence for the indefinite future to the exclusion of all others. — NH Rev Stat § 21:6 (2015)
Section 259:88 adds “that no person shall be deemed to be a resident who claims residence in any other state for any purpose.”
Even if domicile college students were among the out-of-state same-day registrants on Election Day, says New Hampshire state Sen. Regina Birdsell, R-Hampstead, the numbers still don’t add up.
“College students are eligible to vote if they declare domicile here, but anybody who does that then has to comply with the laws of the state,” she told WMUR News 9. “If someone is domiciled in New Hampshire [and has a vehicle], then within 60 days, they need to obtain a driver’s license. I think we will find that within that 5,000, there will be many who did not comply with the law.”
Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., said in a Fox Business Channel interview on Election Day that “domiciled” individuals were bussed in from out of state to stay a single night and vote without an ID.
“All you need to do is say, ‘I don’t have an ID, I’m domicile here,’ and they’ll say, ‘Have you voted?’ No. ‘Are you domicile here?’ Yes. ‘Do you have an ID?’ No. ‘Well here’s a piece of paper, you fill it out,’ bang!” Brown said.
According to New Hampshire’s data on the same-day out-of-state voters, significant numbers of people voted in towns right at the state border.
For instance, the border town of Keene, N.H., had the largest share of Vermont-licensed voters, with 45.
Of the 2,246 out-of-state same-day voter registrants who came from Massachusetts, 898 registered in Durham, N.H., a town just 10 miles from the border. The largest portion of Maine’s 337 out-of-state same-day registrants, 69, also voted in Durham — about one mile from that state’s border.
Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller also had commented on the busing matter on ABC’s “This Week” program
“Having worked on a campaign before in New Hampshire, I can tell you that this issue of busing voters into New Hampshire is widely known by anyone working in New Hampshire politics. It’s very real, very serious,” he said.
Representatives of the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office did not return True North’s repeated requests for comment on whether the out-of-state voters who registered and voted on Election Day had lawful domicile status. Secretary of State Bill Gardner has defended the election results, saying they are “real and valid.”