Nov 1, 2016 10:55 AM

War of Words over Sununu's comments of 'election fraud' in NH

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – The New Hampshire Democratic Party is strongly pushing back against comments by Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Sununu that state Democrats have “gamed the system.”

In an interview Monday evening on popular Boston based conservative radio talk show host Howie Carr, Sununu said “there’s no doubt there’s election fraud here,” adding that Democrats have created a “rigged system.”

In a letter Tuesday morning to NHGOP Chair Jennifer Horn, NHDP Chair Ray Buckley wrote that Sununu’s “statements attack our election officials and could threaten New Hampshire's role as the first-in-the-nation primary.”

Sununu was asked by Carr why Democrats have won all but one of New Hampshire’s ten gubernatorial elections dating back to 1996.

“The Democrats got very sly. When they first took over in the late 1990s and early 2000s, they changed the election laws,” Sununu answered.

“We have same day voter registration, and to be honest, when Massachusetts elections are not very close, they’re busing them in all over the place,” the three-term executive councilor added.

Sununu then brought up a specific example, saying “a Democratic state senator from Portsmouth four years ago who had over 20 people registered at her home address to vote. They pick an address and they do the same-day voter registration.”

“There’s no doubt there’s election fraud here,” Sununu added. “They have really gamed the system in their advantage.”

“One of the first things I’m going to do is simply make it fair. I just believe in fairness. Everyone has to have a fair shot, not a rigged system pushing one demographic or another,” Sununu told Carr, who’s program is heard Monday through Friday on 99.1 NH1News and 1270 WTSN.

An audio excerpt of Sununu’s comments were quickly posted on YouTube Monday night by the NHDP.

Democratic state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark of Portsmouth housed several campaign aides working for President Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 contests.

Fuller Cark has repeatedly denied that she committed voter fraud. The state Attorney General’s Office said that the people who were living in Fuller Clark’s home were allowed by law to claim the Granite State as their domicile when they registered to vote. The finding was heavily criticized by state Republicans.

New Hampshire’s top election official, Secretary of State William Gardner, has long raised concerns about the state’s same-day registration, saying that it could open the door to voter abuse.

Tuesday morning Buckley charged that Sununu “made several wild and unfounded accusations.”

Buckley said those included that “New Hampshire Democrats have have changed election laws to rig elections,” "There's no doubt there's election fraud in New Hampshire,” and that the state has "a rigged system pushing one demographic or another."

Buckley concluded his letter to Horn by saying “while you and I disagree on many issues, I know we share the belief that New Hampshire has the strongest and fairest elections in the country. We must keep it that way. I urge you to do what's right and publicly rebut these baseless accusations.

Monday night Horn told NH1 News that "Democrats continue to live in their own fantasy land, shielding themselves from serious concerns about the integrity of our system. Issues surrounding same-day voter registration in New Hampshire have raised questions about opportunities to commit voter fraud. Even New Hampshire’s Democratic Secretary of State, Bill Gardner, has expressed concerns, and New Hampshire voters deserve nothing short of honest and fair elections."

Sununu's battling fellow executive councilor and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Colin Van Ostern for governor. The winner will succeed Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who's challenging GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte instead of running for a third term in the Corner Office.

The latest NH1 News Poll of Polls indicates Van Ostern holds a very slight three percentage point edge over Sununu.

READ: Latest NH1 News Poll of Polls

Tuesday morning Van Ostern shot back at Sununu, linking him to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who's claimed for months that the election's "rigged."

“New Hampshire does democracy better than anywhere else in the country," Van Ostern said in a statement.

"The people of New Hampshire deserve a Governor who champions our state and our free and fair elections, not one who tears New Hampshire down simply to push Donald Trump's partisan conspiracy theories," he added.

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