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Sununu accuses N.H. Democrats of participating in voter fraud

  • Gubernatorial candidates Chris Sununu and Colin Van Ostern participated in a forum hosted by the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce and AARP New Hampshire and moderated by Chris Spradling at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu speaks during a forum hosted by the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce and AARP New Hampshire and moderated by Chris Spradling at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)



 Monitor staff
Tuesday, November 01, 2016

With just a week to go before the election, Republican gubernatorial Chris Sununu accused New Hampshire Democrats of voter fraud in past elections.

Sununu said Democrats “have really gamed the system to their advantage” by way of the state’s same-day voter registration, in an interview with talk radio host Howie Carr Monday. He also claimed Democrats bus voters in from Massachusetts on election day. 

“We have same day voter registration, and to be honest, when Massachusetts elections are not very close, they’re busing them in all over the place,” Sununu said.

The executive councilor from Newfields also made reference to a flap over Portsmouth state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark allowing Democratic staffers to live at her house in the 2008 and 2012 elections. Those staffers voted in New Hampshire elections using Fuller Clark’s address, which is not illegal, as they were living in the state at least 3 months before the election, the Attorney General ruled.

“We had a state senator, a Democratic state senator from Portsmouth a couple of years ago, who had over 20 people registered at her home address to vote,” Sununu said. “Because they’re just busing them over, they pick an address and they do the same day voter registration. There’s no doubt there’s election fraud.”

Sununu also alleged that Democrats were responsible for changing the state’s voting laws to same-day registration in late 1990s and early 2000s. Same-day registration voting went into effect under Republican Gov. Steve Merrill in 1994.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner said Republicans were actually far more supportive of the 1994 law, which they saw as a preferable local alternative to the federal Motor Voter law.

“Over time it changed,” Gardner said. “Then the Republicans began to question it later and the Democrats were on the other side.”

Gardner has voiced concerns about same-day voting in the past, citing isolated incidents of voter fraud where people from out-of-state cast ballots in New Hampshire elections.

However, Gardner said newer measures put in place with the state’s voter ID law have assuaged those fears.

“I said that three or four years ago, I wouldn’t say that now based on the safeguards that we have included in the process,” he said.

Democrats immediately blasted Sununu for his comments. 

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley called Sununu’s statements “absurd and reckless, and asked his Republican counterpart Jennifer Horn to rebut Sununu’s comments.

Horn has so far given no indication she will do so, releasing a statement Monday saying voter fraud in the state still exists.

“Democrats continue to live in their own fantasyland, shielding themselves from serious concerns about the integrity of our system,” Horn said. “Issues surrounding same-day voter registration in New Hampshire have raised questions about opportunities to commit voter fraud.”

(Ella Nilsen can be reached at 369-3322, enilsen@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @ella_nilsen.)