Jun 112015
 

ACLU REPORT

Documents From Secretary of State’s Office Show No Evidence of Out-of-State “Drive-By” Voter Fraud

June 11, 2015

Some have argued that onerous restrictions on voting rights are necessary to address alleged “drive-by” voter fraud.  However, as documented by a report published today by the ACLU of New Hampshire, the Secretary of State’s Office has produced no tangible evidence of “drive-by” voter fraud actually occurring in New Hampshire.  Indeed, in response to a right-to-know request submitted by the ACLU of New Hampshire seeking information concerning alleged instances of “drive-by” voter fraud since 2000, the Secretary of State’s Office only produced 26 pages of documents, none of which supported the notion that persons living out of state are voting in New Hampshire.

The report is summarized below.

I.    What The Documents Demonstrate

  • In April 2015, the ACLU requested from the Office of the Secretary of State, among other things, all documents—including emails and communications—concerning incidents of actual or potential voting fraud consisting of an individual voting in a NH municipality where he or she is not domiciled from January 1, 2000 to the present.

 

  • In response, the Secretary of State’s Office produced only 26 pages of documents from the last 15 years. And, in these documents, there was no tangible evidence presented of “drive-by” voting actually occurring in New Hampshire.

 

  • Indeed, the Secretary of State’s documents consisted of only four cases where people were alleged to have voted in a place where they did not live, none of which consisted of an out-of-state voter voting in New Hampshire. Two of these cases were deemed not fraudulent or inconclusive by the Attorney General’s Office. Two other cases were deemed unlawful by the Attorney General’s Office, consisting of (i) a New Hampshire person voting in Dover when his domicile was in Rochester during the 2004 general election, and (ii) a New Hampshire person voting in both Litchfield and Hudson during the March 2010 town elections.

 

  • What this analysis demonstrates is that—though over 4,454,752[1] votes have been cast in New Hampshire since 2000—the Secretary of State’s Office has failed to document a single case of an out-of-state voter illegally voting in a New Hampshire election. And, even if there were a handful of fraudulent incidents—which there are not—it would pale in comparison to the well over 4 million votes cast in New Hampshire during the last 15 years.

II.    The Secretary of State’s Public Statements on “Drive-By” Voter Fraud Are Without Foundation

  • In public hearings, the only evidence of alleged “drive-by” voter fraud proffered by the Secretary of State’s Office has been the fact that the Secretary of State’s Office has, following the 2012 and 2014 general elections, received “undeliverable” notices from the post office following that Office’s submission of letters to those who filled out (i) the domicile affidavit on the registration form or (ii) a qualified voter affidavit because they declined to present identification while voting. The Secretary of State’s Office has also complained that some voters who filled out qualified voter affidavits have declined to send postcards to the Secretary of State’s Office confirming their identities.[2]

 

  • But the Secretary of State’s Office has not shown that any of these instances consist of “drive-by” voter fraud. As is obvious, individuals may have moved after the election—thereby, making the letter undeliverable—and qualified voters may decline to send the postcard for multiple reasons, including because of inadvertence or because they object to New Hampshire’s voter identification law.[3]

 

  • As further evidence of the complete lack of foundation in the Secretary of State’s reliance on these figures from the 2012 and 2014 general elections to “show” voter fraud, one need look no further than the 2009 report prepared by the Attorney General’s Office concerning the 10 individuals who registered to vote without proper identification during the day of the 2008 New Hampshire general election, but whose identities could not be confirmed through verification letters because the letters came back as “undeliverable.”[4] In the Office of the Attorney General’s investigation of these ten cases, not one constituted voter fraud. As the Attorney General’s Office stated in its conclusion: “The evidence shows that the above ten New Hampshire persons registered and voted in New Hampshire’s 2008 general Election in conformance with New Hampshire law.”

For more information, feel free to contact Gilles Bissonnette, Legal Director, gilles@aclu-nh.org, 603-224-5591.

 

 

[1] Below are the vote totals for general and midterm elections since 2000:

  • 2000 (for president): 569,081
  • 2002 (for governor): 442,976
  • 2004 (for president): 677,662
  • 2006 (for governor): 403,679
  • 2008 (for president): 707,611
  • 2010 (for governor): 456,588
  • 2012 (for president): 710,972
  • 2014 (for governor): 486,183

[2] During the 2012 general election cycle, the Secretary of State claims that it sent 13,939 letters to those who filled out domicile affidavits in the registration form, with 1,193 coming back as undeliverable.  During that election, that Office claims that it also sent letters to 5,609 individuals who filled out challenged voter affidavits to vote in the general election, with (i) 374 coming back as undeliverable and (ii) 1,698 declining to return a postcard in response to the letters.  That Office claims that it also sent letters to 2,629 individuals who filled out qualified voter affidavits during the 2012 primary and general election itself, with (i) 210 coming back as undeliverable and (ii) 1,270 declining to return a postcard in response to the letters.  See Shawne Wickham, “Checking voter residence affidavits a slog for New Hampshire investigators,” Union Leader, Oct. 25, 2014, available at http://www.unionleader.com/article/20141026/NEWS06/141029247/0/SEARCH.  During the 2014 general election, the Secretary of State claims that it sent 2,983 letters to those who filled out domicile affidavits in the registration form, with 154 coming back as undeliverable.

[3] See Shawne Wickham, “Checking voter residence affidavits a slog for New Hampshire investigators,” Union Leader, Oct. 25, 2014 (Attorney General’s Office noting that “[s]ome of those who did not return postcards have told investigators they were protesting the state’s new Voter ID laws” as “many of those folks intentionally did not bring their IDs to vote.”), available at http://www.unionleader.com/article/20141026/NEWS06/141029247/0/SEARCH.

[4] 191 individuals who registered and voted “same day” without proper identification returned the identification letters sent by the Secretary of State’s Office.

 June 11, 2015  Tagged with: