Protesters, ACLU push for termination of President Trump's voter fraud commission in NH
MANCHESTER — Protesters gathered outside the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm's College on Tuesday morning as the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity prepared to hold its second meeting to discuss voter fraud and focus on improving the integrity of elections.
One Granite Stater sits on the bipartisan committee: Democratic Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who has faced criticism from fellow Democrats for his continued role on the commission.
Missouri's former Secretary of State Jason Kander spoke at a protest across the street where about 100 people gathered prior to the commission's meeting.
Kander said the commission “was born out of a need to defend the biggest lie that a sitting president has ever told."
"When the President of the United States said that there were three to five million illegal voters in the election, that’s the biggest lie that a president has ever told," Kander said. "And so they realized that that was a problem, so they put together a very official-seeming commission in order to try to prove a lie. That’s what the original purpose of this was.”
Kander is pushing for the termination of the commission as a whole.
"The commission shouldn't exist in the first place. The purpose of this commission is to make people think is there are huge problems with voting and democracy doesn't work in the country," a premise, Kander says just isn't true.
He says its about voter suppression.
"You have one party trying to make it harder to vote for people who they think are less likely to vote for them. It doesn't matter what party you are ... that should outrage, and I think it does, every single American."
Devon Chaffee, executive director of the New Hampshire ACLU, says the bigger threat is the fact that in many parts of the country eligible voters are going to the polls.
"Here in New Hampshire we are an exception," Chaffee says. "We have same day voting which has contributed to New Hampshire having the third highest turnout in the country."
But that could easily change, she says.
"We have seen recent efforts to erode our same-day voter registration, which has included SB-3," Chaffee said. "We have laws on the books that prohibit voter fraud, those are the laws that should be enforced."
Chaffee says she agrees with Jason Kander about terminating the commission.
"The ACLU believes that this commission is a sham and should be disbanded, and we would call on Secretary of State William Gardner to withdraw from the commission immediately."
Several St. Anselm's students came out to take part in the protest, including two who weren't old enough to vote in the last election. Hugh Cameron, of Massachusetts, and Haley Bragdon-Clements ,of Maine, both 18, came out in support despite saying many of their friends weren't interested.
Bragdon-Clements, a political science major, says its like being part of the political process.
"I feel like its really important to be here and see everything that is going on," she says. "I think voters rights are obviously very important and that's not something I want to be taken away from me."
Cameron, a secondary education major, says he likes being able to get his information directly from the source.
"Knowing what's happening is better than just getting it from the news which can be fake," he says.
Cameron mentioned something none of the experts did. The cost of all this.
"I think it's kinda ridiculous considering he's (President Trump) trying to account for votes that weren't there," Cameraon said. "He literally knows half the country doesn't like him, so there honestly is no point in wasting taxpayers money on this."