Several Democratic voting experts including New Hampshire’s secretary of state on Tuesday repudiated White House voting commission co-chair Kris Kobach’s claim that thousands of out-of-state voters in New Hampshire likely tipped the Senate race to Democrats. Kobach acknowledged he should have hedged his wording, but did not admit he was wrong.
In a Breitbart column last week, Kobach claimed that he had definitive proof that more than 5,000 out-of-state voters cast fraudulent ballots in 2016, tipping the Senate and potentially presidential race to Democrats. During the second meeting of his voting commission in New Hampshire Tuesday, Kobach called his evidence “anecdotal” and said he’s not sure he used the right word when he wrote that it “appears” there was fraud.
“Maybe the right words were ‘does not appear,’” Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, responded on Twitter.
After partially walking back his column without admitting his lie, Kobach was then rebutted by two Democratic secretaries of state. New Hampshire’s Bill Gardner (D) looked to Kobach, sitting next to him, and spoke about the integrity of elections in his state.
“The result as we have recorded it is real and valid,” Gardner said to applause from a few in the audience. “I hope we can all learn from this,” he added.
Then Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap (D), also a commissioner, explained how domicile laws work for voting. Despite what Kobach claimed in his column, college students and other temporary residents with out-of-state ID’s can cast ballots in elections because their domicile, where they spend a majority of nights, is in the state. “When it comes to voting, where’s your pillow?” he explained.
Dunlap continued to fact-check Kobach, saying that accusing someone with an out-of-state ID of committing voter fraud is like accusing someone who has cash of robbing a bank.
As he chairs the White House’s voting commission, Kobach is also serving as Kansas secretary of state, running for Kansas governor, appearing as a Trump administration spokesperson on TV to advocate for harsh immigration policies, and writing a paid column for Breitbart.
In his column last week, Kobach claimed that the speaker of the New Hampshire House provided the commission with data showing that 6,540 people registered to vote in the state on Election Day using an out-of-state ID, and over 5,500 of those people did not change their ID during the following 60 days, meaning they are not New Hampshire residents and voted illegally.
But that conclusion is highly flawed. New Hampshire does not require people to be “residents” to register and vote, so temporary New Hampshire dwellers like college students can legally use their current domicile in order to cast a ballot. The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel spoke to a number of students who cast a ballot in New Hampshire using a different state ID.
Voting experts and Democrats have pointed to Kobach’s lie and pushed for him to resign or disband his panel.
“He has no business trying to vice chair a commission on integrity while making low-integrity comments that are detrimental to public confidence,” Max Hailperin, a computer science professor at Gustavus Adolphus College, told ThinkProgress Monday.