My Turn: ‘Election Integrity Commission’ is just a voting rights rollback

  • Chris Sununu GEOFF FORESTER

For the Monitor
Published: 7/22/2017 12:09:50 AM

A few short weeks ago, President Donald Trump’s so-called Election Integrity Commission asked every state to turn over personal voter information without justification or cause. While a vast majority of states immediately rebuked this request, New Hampshire is one of few states where our Secretary of State Bill Gardner and Gov. Chris Sununu vocally and proudly stated their intention to comply with the request, no questions asked.

In an interview, Sununu said he would happily hand over this information to Trump. Sununu went even further by saying that anyone who didn’t immediately comply was just playing politics.

The governor’s statements on the matter couldn’t be more wrong. Republican and Democratic governors alike are denying this request across the country, and it’s time for New Hampshire’s executive leaders to do the same. Some Republicans in the state are already pushing back, including longtime Republican Rep. Neal Kurk, who is suing to protect the voter information Sununu agreed to hand to President Trump’s sham commission.

This commission isn’t about monitoring voter fraud; it is an active threat to our entire voting system. If this so-called Election Integrity Commission were earnestly looking at ways to secure our elections it would explore a broad spectrum of reforms and modernization concepts, such as automatic voter registration, to build public confidence in a system that keeps our voter rolls up to date.

Trump’s commission was founded as a last-ditch attempt to legitimize his far-fetched claims of voter fraud. He stacked the commission with longtime conspiracy theorists who have run some of the largest voting rights rollbacks in the country.

Sununu lied about voter fraud last fall before his election and then flip-flopped during the legislative session to justify rollbacks to our wildly popular same-day voter registration system. Recent admissions show that the governor knows voter fraud isn’t an issue in New Hampshire. Sununu’s compliance with Trump’s commission wastes tax-payer dollars while feeding Trump’s witch hunt. We deserve better.

Once the commission has our voter file, people who are concerned for their privacy may remove themselves from voter rolls entirely. The commission will use our voter file to pave the way for the federal government to enact national rollbacks that will interfere with the unique way we register voters in New Hampshire.

We need to immediately work together to stop this dangerous misuse of power. Every Granite Stater should call Gov. Sununu’s office and Secretary Gardner’s office to demand they choose our interests in New Hampshire. Let’s work together to show Sununu that Granite Staters care about our voting rights and our privacy.

In the spirit of “Live Free or Die,” let’s make sure that the governor understands we won’t let this issue pass without a fight.

(Paula Hodges is the state director for America Votes N.H. and is the founding chair of New Leaders Council N.H.)

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