In response to a request from House Speaker Shawn Jasper, the Department of State and Department of Safety compiled data on how many people voted with an out-of-state driver's license in the last election. Now policymakers are debating whether this report is evidence of voter fraud.
The data on out-of-state licenses
6,540 people registered to vote using an out-of-state driver's license in the last election. Some of those voters were college students and others had recently moved to New Hampshire. They still had to swear they lived in New Hampshire.
As of August 31, 2017, 5,313 of those voters still did not have a New Hampshire driver's license or motor vehicle registration.
Evidence of voter fraud?
Kris Kobach, the Vice Chairman of the committee formed by President Trump to investigate voter fraud, wrote a piece for Breitbart claiming that the data on out-of-state licenses is evidence of voter fraud in New Hampshire.
"It has long been reported, anecdotally, that out-of-staters take advantage of New Hampshire’s same-day registration and head to the Granite State to cast fraudulent votes. Now there's proof."
Kobach noted that Maggie Hassan won the U.S. Senate seat by only 1,017 votes, so 5,313 fraudulent voters could have easily swung the election her way.
Or is there a less criminal explanation?
However, there are several reasons why someone who voted with an out-of-state license still wouldn't have a New Hampshire driver's license. Notably, college students from out-of-state do not have to obtain a New Hampshire license. An earlier analysis from NHPR found that most voters with out-of-state licenses voted in college towns, suggesting that many of the 5,313 voters in question are college students.
Other voters may have moved out of state or simply haven't gotten around to updating their licenses.
What comes next?
Next week Secretary of State Bill Gardner will attend a meeting of the committee formed by President Trump to investigate voter fraud. He maintains that there is not widespread voter fraud in New Hampshire, but he also supports stricter requirements for voters to prove their identity.
Meanwhile the New Hampshire Democratic Party and the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire have filed a lawsuit against a new voter registration law passed this spring. That law adds requirements for new voters to prove they live in New Hampshire. Click here to learn more about that lawsuit.
Do you have an opinion on voting laws in New Hampshire? Join the discussion in the comments below.