Did voter fraud in New Hampshire save ObamaCare from being repealed?
The Presidential Commission on Election Integrity is meeting Tuesday in New Hampshire and may eventually provide an answer.
A debate is raging in the state, home of the first presidential primary, about whether state election laws were violated last November by out-of-state Democrats who entered New Hampshire and took advantage of the same-day voter registration law to falsely claim they were New Hampshire residents.
The election featured a photo-finish race for president – Hillary Clinton won by 2,467 votes – and in the race for the U.S. Senate. Democrat Maggie Hassan narrowly defeated incumbent GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte by only 1,017 votes.
Trump won the Electoral College comfortably, but he could easily have been in a position where the Granite State’s four electoral votes would have determined the outcome of the presidential race.
Since all of New Hampshire’s neighboring states are Democratic, it’s likely that if any of their residents crossed into New Hampshire to use the same-day voter registration law to cast ballots most of these people voted Democratic. That could have wound up costing Ayotte and possibly Trump a victory in New Hampshire.
Should that have happened, the implications are huge. Trump won the Electoral College comfortably, but he could easily have been in a position where the Granite State’s four electoral votes would have determined the outcome of the presidential race.
As for Ayotte, Republicans in the Senate failed to pass a “repeal and replace” bill for ObamaCare by only a single vote. If Ayotte had been in the Senate, she would have provided that missing vote and ObamaCare would have been repealed. Lawmakers would now be in the middle of a rousing debate over how to replace ObamaCare.
In the 15 states that have same-day voter registration, the vast majority of voters who use the law are recent arrivals who’ve moved from other states. But apparently not in New Hampshire.
The vast majority of the 6,240 voters in New Hampshire who registered on the same day they cast ballots – 70 percent – used out-of-state identification to prove their identities, according to the Public Interest Legal Foundation. That’s something that people who have just moved into the state can do, prior to obtaining New Hampshire ID.
Some of the out-of-state ID holders were no doubt college students using ID from their home states, even though state law requires they get a New Hampshire ID within 30 days of moving into the state to be considered a true resident.
But only about 7 percent of those same-day registrants went on to obtain New Hampshire driver’s licenses and only 3 percent have since registered vehicles in New Hampshire – a state with very little public transportation. This raises serious questions about whether many of the people who took advantage of same-day registration to vote were out-of-state residents voting improperly in the Granite State.
Kris Kobach, the vice chair of the presidential commission and the secretary of state for Kansas, says the anomalies are important because they could have swung both the Senate race that Ayotte narrowly lost and the presidential race the Trump barely lost.
New Hampshire lawmakers have already recognized the problems that same-day registration poses for the integrity of their elections.
Last spring, a bill was signed into law that clearly requires anyone registering to vote less than 30 days before an election take one of more specified steps to make New Hampshire “the one place, more than any other, from which he or she engages in the domestic, social, and civil activities of participating in democratic self-government.” Examples would be changing one’s driver’s license and registering a vehicle in the state.
So in the future, New Hampshire will have some mechanism in place to ensure that only its residents vote, rather than having drive-in partisans and overeager political activists from other states cancel out the ballot of legitimate voters.
John Fund is a columnist for National Review. Follow him on Twitter @JohnFund.