New data suggest that more than 5,000 people who cast ballots in New Hampshire in the 2016 U.S. presidential election might not have been residents of the state.
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These voters likely used out-of-state driver’s licenses and have not since obtained an in-state license or registered a vehicle.
New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper, a Republican, released the data Thursday following his inquiries to the state’s Department of State and the Department of Safety, which supervise elections.
The new figures could potentially call into question the validity of the New Hampshire results for Nov. 8, when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton outpolled Republican nominee Donald Trump by a mere 2,736 votes.
Conservatives have long criticized certain practices of voter registration, such as same-day registration, claiming lax rules invite fraud and abuse of the electoral system, the Washington Times reported.
In February, White House adviser Stephen Miller came under fire for suggesting that nonresident Democratic Party voters arrived in droves to New Hampshire to vote for Clinton.
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Miller told ABC in February: “Having worked before on a campaign in New Hampshire, 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. It’s very real. It’s very serious. This morning, on this show, is not the venue for me to lay out all the evidence.”
The Washington Post described Miller’s claim as “the same bogus talking points that have been repeatedly shown to be false.”
The figures obtained by Jasper, however, reveal the potential abuse of the voting procedure. According to the data, 6,540 people registered to vote, and voted in the New Hampshire election, provided just out-of-state license.
Only 15 percent, roughly about 1,014 of the voters, have since obtained the in-state license, while 200 other people had since registered a vehicle in the state.
Despite New Hampshire law mandating that drivers acquire a state driving license within 60 days of becoming a resident in the state, more than 80 percent of people who registered to vote with out-of-state licenses still had not received their in-state license or registered a new vehicle – nearly 10 months after the election.
In addition, 196 people were under investigation for voting in two states.
Recently, three elections in New Hampshire were won by fewer than 5,000 votes, the Concord Patch reported. Clinton won against Trump by 2,736 votes, Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan beat U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte by 1,017 votes and U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter won against incumbent U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta by 4,900 votes.
Democrats have fired back at the new data, calling it an attempt to use “selective data and misinformation” to justify claims made by the White House about the voter fraud.
State Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley claimed Jasper “selectively requested information about voters who registered with out-of-state licenses, an entirely legal and normal practice. They can easily be accounted for by college students and other new Granite Staters who deferred acquiring an in-state license or don't intend to drive in the state,” WMUR9 reported.
State Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn seconded: “Using cherry-picked data in order to support a false claim is dangerous and irresponsible. Today’s release of information by Speaker Jasper’s office fans the flames of misinformation in order to further suppress our citizens’ right to vote.”
Jasper addressed the criticism that the figures can be accounted with just college students, claiming there were multiple people who “did not comply with the law.”
“College students are eligible to vote if they declare domicile here, but anybody who does that then has to comply with the laws of the state,” he said, according to WMUR9. “If someone is domiciled in New Hampshire (and has a vehicle), then within 60 days, they need to obtain a driver’s license. I think we will find that within that 5,000, there will be many who did not comply with the law.”
The two state agencies that issued the data to Jaspers also released an explanation of why certain people could have voted without having an in-state driving license or have registered the vehicle even 10 months later after the election.
“It is likely that some unknown number of these individuals moved out of New Hampshire, it is possible that a few may have never driven in New Hampshire or have ceased driving, however, it is expected that an unknown number of the remainder continue to live and drive in New Hampshire. If they have established their residence in New Hampshire, they may have failed to obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license,” wrote Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes and Secretary of State Bill Gardner.
The letter does not suggest all people who voted with out-of-state driving licenses voted illegally.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.