Attorney general's office: No evidence out-of-state voters bused into New Hampshire 

  • Associate Attorney General Anne Edwards (far right) presents to the Ballot Law Commission the results of her office's investigation into fraudulent voting accusations in New Hampshire. Ethan DeWitt / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 5/29/2018 3:37:40 PM

The state attorney general’s office has no evidence that out-of-state voters were ever bused into New Hampshire to illegally sway the outcome of an election, a top official said Tuesday, dismissing an oft-repeated claim that’s spread from the Granite State to the White House.

But that isn’t to say that out-of-state buses have not been used.

Responding to questioning by members of the state Ballot Law Commission on Tuesday, Associate Attorney General Anne Edwards said the office received multiple complaints in 2014 of buses with out-of-state license plates dropping voters off at the polls. Those reports fueled accusations that political parties were taking advantage of New Hampshire’s same-day voting laws to transport voters from Democratic-leaning states like Massachusetts and Vermont – claims that have persisted for years and have been repeated by members of the Trump administration.

The attorney general’s office has found no evidence of improper out-of-state voters, Edwards said. But the buses were real.

“What happens is at college campuses, the political parties will rent buses to move the college students around to the polling places so that they can vote, and the buses are usually out-of-state,” Edwards told the commission.

After a range of complaints, and several on-site inspections of polling places in 2014, investigators ruled out any cases of wrongdoing.

“They’ve been able to determine that the situation is that the bus company is from Vermont or Massachusetts, but not the voters on the bus,” Edwards said.

Through “serious conversations,” the office advised the political parties to stop the practice, Edwards said, adding the office received no complaints in 2016.

The explanation came in response to a claim that has bounced around the state for years – and found a receptive ear both in both New Hampshire and Washington.

In February 2017, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller directly gave voice to the charge.

“I can tell you that this issue of busing voters into New Hampshire is widely known by anyone who’s worked in New Hampshire politics,” he said in an interview. The claim was made days after President Donald Trump alleged he would have won the Granite State without mass voter fraud. Democrat Hillary Clinton took the state by about 2,700 votes.

Gov. Chris Sununu, too, has espoused the claim in the past. In an interview on the Boston-based Howie Carr Show given weeks ahead of the November 2016 election, Sununu accused Democrats of abusing New Hampshire’s same-day registration law.

“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 at the time.

In a subsequent interview with New Hampshire Public Radio, the governor walked back the claims.

“I’ve always said we have no evidence of voter fraud in this state,” he said in June 2017. “We have none. I’ve never seen a bit of actual evidence of it.”

A spokesman for Sununu was unavailable to immediately comment Tuesday.

(Ethan DeWitt can be reached at edewitt@cmonitor.com, or on Twitter at @edewittNH.)



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