NHGOP blasts AG's finding of no voter fraud by Democratic senator, campaign workersBy JOHN DiSTASO
Senior Political Reporter
August 26. 2013 3:56PM
CONCORD -- The state Republican Party said Monday the Attorney General's Office did a poor job of investigating alleged voter fraud by four campaign workers who temporarily lived at state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark's Portsmouth home during the 2008 and 2012 elections.
The AG's office wrote to state Republican chair Jennifer Horn last week that it found after an investigation, "the allegations of voter fraud" against Clark and the campaign workers "are not supported."
Horn said Monday, "The investigation appears to rely solely on self-serving statements from out of state campaign workers and made no effort to look at any objective evidence."
She also noted that the probe found "the extraordinary fact" that Democratic Party officials "instructed" campaign workers to register and vote in state elections.
Assistant Attorney General Steve LaBonte reported that the four campaign workers lived at Clark's home for several months prior to the 2008 or 2012 elections and then moved out of the state following those elections.
According to the report:
- Andrea Riccio moved to the state in May 2008, worked for the Democratic Party and Fuller Clark's campaign, registered to vote and then voted in the September 2008 primary and November 2008 general election, and then left the state in December 2008.
- Ellen Whelan-Wuest moved to the state in June or July 2008, worked for then-candidate Barack Obama's campaign, registered and voted in that year's September primary and November general election, and then, "after the 2008 general election," moved to New York City.
- Bryan Griffith moved into Clark's resident in the summer of 2012, worked on the Obama campaign, registered to vote in Portsmouth on Oct. 24 of that year and voted on Nov. 6. He moved out of the state in December 2012.
- Ryan Flynn stayed in Clark's home in the summer of 2012, worked on the Obama campaign and registered to vote in Portsmouth on election day, Nov. 6, 2012. He left the state after the election.
According to the AG's report, none of the workers discussed with Clark whether they would register to vote in New Hampshire.
However, the report said, Flynn "did say that the Democratic Party instructed campaign workers who were living in New Hampshire to register to vote in the town or cities (in which) they lived."
LaBonte pointed out that state law says, "An inhabitant's domicile for voting purposes is that one place where a person, more than any other place, has established a physical presence and manifests an intent to maintain a single continuous presence for domestic, social and civil purposes relevant to participating in democratic self-government."
"While working and living in New Hampshire, these individuals established a physical presence at (Clark's home) in Portsmouth, which continued for several months. There is no evidence to conclude they falsely claimed New Hampshire as their domicile at the time they registered to vote," LaBonte wrote.
NHGOP chair Horn said, "Under New Hampshire law, the standard to cast a ballot in our state is not to merely establish a physical presence, but to establish a physical presence 'more than any other place.'"
She said outstanding questions left by the probe include, "Did any of these out of state workers fulfill the requirements of our laws to change their driver's license and car registration within 60 days? Were they maintaining residences and paying rent in other states while they were staying in the guest bedroom of Martha Fuller Clark's mansion?
"There is no indication that the Attorney General truly investigated this important standard," said Horn.
"This investigation did uncover the extraordinary fact that New Hampshire Democratic Party officially orchestrated an effort to get out of state residents to vote in New Hampshire elections," Horn said.
"According to the Attorney General office's interview with Ryan Flynn, the Democrat Party 'instructed' operatives who parachuted into our state for a only a few weeks to vote here despite the fact that they were not permanent New Hampshire residents. Since Martha Fuller Clark is the Vice Chairman of the New Hampshire Democrat Party, it is implausible that she didn't discuss voter registration practices with her house guests given the instructions that Mr. Flynn revealed," she said.
"Drive by voting is unacceptable and illegal under New Hampshire law. You can't come to our state while maintaining residency in another state and expect to influence our elections. That is wrong, and Republicans will continue to explore other avenues to ensure that drive by voters are not canceling out the votes of legitimate New Hampshire residents," said Horn.
Horn had initially asked Attorney General Joe Foster to recuse himself from the investigation because he is a Democratic former state senator who served with Clark and because he has received campaign contributions from the state Democratic Party. Foster, however, refused.
State Democratic Party spokesman Harrell Kirstein said the AG's report supported his party's belief that, "from the very beginning this was a petty witch-hunt and a waste of taxpayer money.
"People on both sides of the aisle who have moved here and worked here and are domiciled here have voted here for years and years and years, and that's why this has never been an issue before," he said.