How Hard Would It Be To Steal The New Hampshire Primary?

Joanne W. Young Managing Partner, Kirstein & Young
Font Size:

The Iowa Caucus was by all accounts poorly run on the Democrat side and no one is sure who won. While New Hampshire has a history of elections well run by Secretary of State Bill Gardner, Secretary Gardner does not have all the tools he needs to ensure honest elections.  

The first and foremost problem is the simple fact Secretary Gardner cannot guarantee a close election will be determined by Granite Staters. The problem is “drive by voting.” The simple fact of the matter is that political operatives, and even the media, who are in New Hampshire on Election Day could vote in New Hampshire.  

Some famous political operatives have done this in the past, including New York resident and niece to the Vice President, Alana Biden, who volunteered for the Obama-Biden campaign in 2012 in New Hampshire and voted in New Hampshire. She simply said she was living (with eight other campaign staffers) in New Hampshire on Election Day.  

As Secretary Gardner has stated, “working on political campaigns is not sufficient evidence” to make someone eligible to vote in New Hampshire. Secretary Gardner personally witnessed vote fraud in 2008 when AmeriCorps volunteers who planned to leave on December 1 registered at the polls and voted.

On a bipartisan basis, led by Democrat Secretary State Gardner and Republican legislators, Granite Staters have tried to make sure it is the people of New Hampshire, not out of state campaign workers, that determine election results. However, Governor Maggie Hassan has blocked and vetoed efforts to fix this problem.

The effect of this sort of vote fraud can be profound. Each elected member of the New Hampshire State House represents an average of only 3,291 residents; there is always the possibility of a close race. Close state house races are often decided by a very small margin, even tying.  

Importantly, data from the State Election Results published regarding the 2012 and 2014 general elections by the N.H. Secretary of State demonstrated the margin of victory for the winning candidate in the races for governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. President was less than the number of votes cast Election Day by same day registrants. A few votes from out-of-state people can literally change the winner of a race.  

And the potential effects are not limited to just New Hampshire. While everyone remembers what happened in Florida in the 2000 election, Al Gore came just 1 percent short of beating George Bush and winning the election in New Hampshire in 2000. The race was so close in part due to 1,700 University of New Hampshire students who wrongly registered to vote in Durham, New Hampshire, despite living in Massachusetts.  These kinds of numbers are too big to be accidental, and if the race were just a little closer, could have literally made Al Gore President of the United States.

While the nation focuses on New Hampshire, we also need to focus on the problems of Election-Day registration. Granite Staters rightly prize themselves on the attention and seriousness with which they are the first to vote for President in the nation. It is time the election process be taken just as seriously so it is the residents of New Hampshire, not out-of-state campaign workers, who decide the election.