While voter identification is a technical requirement in New Hampshire, the law is riddled with loopholes that threaten to render it ineffective as any sort of check on fraud. That’s what a team of Judicial Watch attorneys and volunteer observers, who were in the Granite State on Election Day, determined.
Although election officials will accept standard IDs such as drivers’ licenses and passports, potential voters may also present any other less definitive photo ID “deemed reasonable” by those officials.
A potential voter who has no photo identification—either standard or “alternative”—may still vote after simply filling out an affidavit and swearing to his or her identity and asserting that he or she is eligible to vote in New Hampshire. How can the state’s voter ID law have any real effect with these broad exemptions in place?
In close elections, voter fraud can make the difference between the will of the people and the wiles of the political elite. That’s why we sent this team of lawyers and volunteer observers to New Hampshire on Election Day as part of our Election Integrity Project, which is directed by Robert Popper, a seasoned attorney and former Deputy Chief of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Voting Section. Our goal is to prevent voter fraud so legitimate voters are not disenfranchised.
This year alone, Judicial Watch successfully resolved lawsuits in Ohio and Indiana built around a provision of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) that requires state officials to maintain clean voter rolls. We have also released data that shows 11 states plus Washington D.C. have out-of-date voter rolls in various counties where the number of registered voters exceeds the voting age population. We are pressing ahead as we consider potential NVRA litigation in Colorado, Iowa, and the District of Colombia. And we are also investigating the voter rolls in Alabama, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, and West Virginia.
In New Hampshire, citizens have a right to monitor elections so long as they do so unobtrusively, and this is how we operated. The attorneys on our team included Chris Fedeli and Lauren Burke and were led by veteran poll watcher Robert Popper. The volunteers were local Judicial Watch members who patriotically contributed their time to assist with this effort. In the weeks leading up to the election, Judicial Watch attorneys had trained these volunteers to be on the lookout for a variety of poor electoral practices or outright violations of state election laws.
Team members were told not to make challenges or otherwise to interfere with the conduct of elections. Rather, their purpose was simply to take notes and to gather evidence regarding the state’s electoral practices. Where particular problems were observed on Election Day, Judicial Watch attorneys would notify the appropriate state authorities. Our team was able to observe voting and registration procedures in about 20 polling sites throughout the state. They concentrated their efforts on the more populous locations in Nashua and Manchester, as well as polling places in Pelham, Exeter, Litchfield, Keene, and elsewhere.
What our team found in New Hampshire was disturbing.
They saw many individuals submitting affidavits in lieu of any actual photo IDs. They also saw extremely high rates of same-day registration. At most of the sites we visited, the same-day registration rate varied between 6-10 percent of all those voting. At one site, the rate was an extraordinary 12.7 percent, or about one out of every 8 voters. At another site, there were at one point three individuals waiting to vote—while another 17 individuals were waiting to same-day register. And some of them had Massachusetts T-shirts.
A major challenge to ballot integrity in New Hampshire, and in other parts of the country, stems from the practice of same-day registration. This procedure allows an individual to register to vote on Election Day at any polling site and then to walk over to the voting booths and cast a ballot. This is a problem for obvious reasons. For starters, state officials do not have time to confirm the validity of the registration. Even when there is good reason to suspect a fraudulent vote, the only response is a meaningless post-election investigation.
The person who gave a false name and address is long gone, leaving nothing but false paperwork. More to the point, in any case where fraud is suspected but not proved, the resulting vote still counts. There’s also a huge opening for students and other out-of-state residents to vote illegally thanks to permissive “domicile” requirements.
This past summer, a Stafford County judge overturned a state requirement that someone claiming state residence had to register their car and obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license. And top state officials encouraged polling places to set aside a special “no photo ID” table for voters who did not bring photo identification. This directive came from the state’s attorney general’s office, which does not seem overly concerned with raising standards and protecting the rights of legitimate voters. These “no photo ID” tables were too busy for those of us concerned about election integrity.
Our poll watching experience in New Hampshire shows that voter identification requirements need to have real teeth to them.
The Obama administration will be of no help and will oppose reform for cleaner elections.
Attorney General Eric Holder has made it his personal mission to block voter identification laws, most recently claiming they are in violation of Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, or VRA.
The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of voter ID back in 2008 in a case involving an Indiana law. Most recently, the Supreme Court also upheld voter ID in Texas. None of that has stopped Eric Holder, who, with the support of President Obama, is waging a war on voter ID (so that illegal aliens and foreign nationals can illegally vote for leftists without much impediment).
But proponents of voter ID have the rule of law on their side. That’s the good news. The bad news is those government officials at the state and federal level who are out to undermine voter ID will continue to have any ally in the Justice Department.
Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to succeed Holder, appears set to continue his policies. Lynch is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Lynch has made it clear she approves of lawsuits the DOJ has filed against states like North Carolina in an effort to block voter ID. JW will expand its Election Integrity Project nationwide in upcoming elections. And as the Senate considers the nomination of apparent Holder-clone Loretta Lynch, we will diligently investigate her qualifications and biases.
In the meantime, we will do the work of the Justice Department, which has no interest in investigating voter fraud of the sort that may have helped elect President Obama and other leftists. Our Election Integrity Project will expand its work as we plan to monitor elections in additional states in the 2016 presidential election.