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Jan 25, 2017 5:51 PM

Trump calls for voter fraud investigation; top NH election official sees no widespread fraud

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – As President Donald Trump called for a “major investigation” into what he says was massive voter fraud in November’s election, a top state election official said he didn’t “see any widespread voter fraud taking place in New Hampshire.”

Trump on Wednesday morning tweeted that "I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and ... even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!"

Those tweets coming just twelve hours after the President, while meeting with Congressional leaders, repeated an unsubstantiated claim that some three to five million illegal votes cost him the popular vote to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in November’s election, according to reporting by numerous national news organizations.

Trump lost the popular vote to Clinton by nearly three million votes, but won the electoral college vote, which handed him the presidency.

On Wednesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the probe would look beyond last year’s presidential election.

“Just to be clear, not just in 2016,” Spicer told reporters at the daily White House press briefing. “I think in terms of registration, where you’ve got folks on rolls that have been deceased or moved or registered in two counties. This isn’t just about the 2016 election. This is about the integrity of our voting system.”

Changes coming to New Hampshire’s election laws?

Soon after November’s election, Trump said that New Hampshire, Virginia and California were states he suspected voter fraud influenced the results.

But New Hampshire Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan told NH1 News “we don’t see any widespread voter fraud taking place in New Hampshire. Does it happen in isolated instances? I think the answer is yes. There have been prosecutions in the past.”

And Scanlan, who supervises local elections, highlighted that “every voter that comes in to obtain a ballot has to present an acceptable form of ID. And if they don’t have one they fill out an affidavit, but they also have a photograph taken of them in the polling place as well.”

During the autumn campaign, then-GOP gubernatorial nominee Chris Sununu raised concerns about what he termed “drive-by voting.” Speaking with reporters the day after he won the election, Sununu said he wanted to repeal the state’s same day registration law, which he said “brings too many questions to mind.”

Many Republicans point to the Granite State’s same day registration law, which they allege allows Democrats to game the system by bringing in non-residents to vote on election day.

A couple of weeks later Sununu said in a statement that reacted to Trump’s claim of voter irregularities in New Hampshire, that “no evidence of voter fraud in this past election has been brought to my attention.”

Regardless, at a state GOP dinner in early December, the first Republican elected governor in 14 years said “election reform” was a top item on his legislative to do list. It’s also a priority for leaders in the GOP controlled state House of Representatives and state Senate. Some three-dozen bills that would alter current law were introduced late last year.

Scanlan told NH1 News that “voter perception is as important as the reality in elections. People, voters, have to have confidence that their elections are operating properly, fairly, with integrity. And there is a fairly high level of lack of confidence in the elections nationwide.”

But he added that “in New Hampshire voters believe that the elections here are conducted with a high degree of integrity. We’re at the top of the list nationwide in that respect.”

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