NH Secretary of State plans to hand over information for voter fraud investigation
CONCORD — New Hampshire's secretary of state said Friday that he will comply with a commission's request to provide voter information.
A commission created by President Donald Trump to investigate voter fraud during the 2016 election has asked states for a list of the names, party affiliations, addresses and voting histories of all voters, if state law allows it to be public.
A letter sent out on Wednesday from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is giving the secretaries of state about two weeks to provide approximately a dozen points of voter data. This includes dates of birth, the last four digits of voters' Social Security numbers, any felony convictions, military status, political affiliation, voting history, as well as other information.
New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who is also on the commission, told New Hampshire Public Radio on Friday that he would comply with the request.
This goes against the wishes of the New Hampshire chapter of the ACLU.
“We expect that the Secretary of State will not honor any request to produce information that is private and confidential. Any transfer of information must be in full compliance with all state disclosure laws," Gilles Bissonnette, the legal director of ACLU-NH, wrote on Friday. "The Commission should not be able to obtain information that is unavailable to any ordinary member of the public."
Bissonnette cited RSA 654:25, RSA 654:31(I-II), and RSA 654:31-a as part of his argument writing that only a voter's name, domicile address, mailing address, and party affiliation can be made public.
"The Secretary of State is barred from disclosing to the public any other personal information about voters, including their dates of birth or social security information. See RSA 654:31-a. And if the Commission wants a copy of the public checklist, it should have to pay for it—at a cost of $25 per municipal checklist under RSA 654:31(II)—just like any ordinary member of the public," Bissonnette wrote.
"Unfortunately, this Commission likely will be a pretext to enact new restrictions on the right to vote. Led by Mr. Kobach, it is based on the false premise that there was widespread voter fraud last November. Yet New Hampshire conducts fair, honest, and democratic elections, and there is no evidence of significant voter fraud here. The Secretary of State’s Office and the Governor have both repeatedly acknowledged that there is no widespread voter fraud in the Granite State.”
Some Democratic officials in other states refused to comply, saying the request invades privacy and is based on false claims of fraud.
Massachusetts said Friday it will not adhere to the commission's request.
A spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin said Friday the state's voter registry is not a public record and information in it will not be shared with the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
Material from The Associated Press contributed to this story.