GOP calls N.H. voter fraud investigation lacking; Democrats claim a witch-hunt
The state Republican Party yesterday criticized an investigation by the attorney general’s office that found no evidence of voter fraud at a Democratic state senator’s house, with RNC Chairwoman Jennifer Horn saying the inquiry “made no effort to look at any objective evidence.”
But Harrell Kirstein, spokesman for the New Hampshire Democratic Party, called it a “petty witch-hunt and a waste of taxpayer money,” demanded by Republicans for no legitimate reason.
“Law-abiding U.S. citizens who are living here and working here have a right to vote here, regardless of their age or political affiliation,” Kirstein said in a statement. “People on both sides of the aisle who have moved here and worked here and are domiciled here have voted here for years and years and years, and that’s why this has never been an issue before.”
On July 24, Horn asked Attorney General Joe Foster to investigate possible voter fraud after WMUR reported that eight people were registered to vote at the Portsmouth home of state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, a Democrat.
The eight included the senator, her husband, her son and a goddaughter who was studying at the University of New Hampshire.
The other four had worked on various Democratic political campaigns while living at Fuller Clark’s house. Two voted in New Hampshire in 2008 before moving away, and two voted in 2012 before moving away.
Horn last month accused Fuller Clark of “allowing her home address to be used as a sanctuary for voter fraud.”
But in an Aug. 21 letter to Horn, Assistant Attorney General Stephen LaBonte wrote there was no evidence anyone violated New Hampshire law, which requires a voter to establish domicile.
Domicile is defined by state law as “that one place where a person, more than any other place, has established a physical presence and manifests an intent to maintain a single continuous presence for domestic, social, and civil purposes relevant to participating in democratic self-government.”
The five-page letter from LaBonte to Horn cites election records and interviews with several people, including Fuller Clark and the campaign workers. LaBonte said everyone consistently said Fuller Clark and the workers never discussed whether they should register to vote in the state.
“We checked and saw that the individuals had moved here for the purpose of working. . . . They didn’t move here for the purpose of voting in our election. But as they were living here and working here for a period of months, they did establish a domicile,” LaBonte said in an interview. “There just wasn’t any evidence that voter fraud took place.”
No additional action will be taken by the attorney general’s office, he wrote in his letter to Horn, “as the allegations of voter fraud are not supported.”
Horn wasn’t satisfied and said yesterday the investigation was lacking.
“Drive-by voting is unacceptable and illegal under New Hampshire law. You can’t come to our state while maintaining residency in another state and expect to influence our elections,” she said in a statement. “That is wrong, and Republicans will continue to explore other avenues to ensure that drive-by voters are not canceling out the votes of legitimate New Hampshire residents.”
Fuller Clark didn’t return a message yesterday seeking comment.
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)