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Your Turn, NH -- Mike Moffett: Will voter fraud be the difference in Hassan, Ayotte race?

April 28. 2016 6:57PM

Democrat Maggie Hassan, left, and incumbent GOP Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte (File)

THE U.S. SENATE race between Kelly Ayotte and Maggie Hassan will likely be a close affair. Hopefully, a clear winner will emerge, as contested results with attendant recounts are expensive and emotionally draining. Recall the 1974 race in New Hampshire between John Durkin and Louis Wyman, which took a year to resolve.

I can personally attest that every vote matters in a close election, as my own 2014 state representative contest ended in a tie. I lost one vote in the recount.

The integrity of our process is crucial. Stolen elections cause wars in other countries and massive cynicism in this one. Voter fraud threatens our democracy.

And the Granite State is particularly at risk. Liberal same-day voter registration policies here invite abuse. Over 35,000 voters registered on the last election day. And most of them voted Democrat. Out-of-state college students who voted via absentee ballots in their home states got a second vote in the Granite State. Appalling.

Google “voter fraud” and you’ll find countless alleged and documented examples of these sorry practices. The vast majority of these crimes are committed by Democrats. To quote Casey Stengel, “You can look it up.”

Principled New Hampshire Democrats, like Secretary of State Bill Gardner, have long acknowledged the dangers of such fraud, and our Legislature sought to reestablish voting integrity with SB 179, calling for common sense residency requirements. Sadly, SB 179 was vetoed by Gov. Hassan.

Ever the practitioners of divisive identity politics, the Democrats accuse reformers of seeking to suppress minority or poor voters.

Such accusations are nonsensical, but the prospect of Sen. Ayotte being cheated out of re-election frightens her many supporters.

Most states have minimal residency requirements to fight fraud. It’s fair to expect citizens to take voting seriously enough to register in advance. Interestingly, Donald Trump’s own son and daughter didn’t register as Republicans in time in New York, and thus couldn’t vote for their dad in the primary. So be it.

And as a practical matter, a Hassan victory would hurt New Hampshire in many ways beyond her policy votes. With Congress likely to remain Republican, New Hampshire would not be well-served by an all-Democrat congressional delegation.

A couple years ago, I was pleased to get a bipartisan letter signed by both Sen. Ayotte and Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen advocating for a New Hampshire development project. There’s value to having a senator from each party. Imagine a Sen. Hassan voting for 99 percent of Obama/Clinton policies such as Sen. Shaheen. What a dreary prospect.

Democrats even joke about stealing elections, as when John F. Kennedy shared that his father warned him not to buy a single vote more than necessary, quoting old Joe Kennedy as saying, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide.”

But a landslide may indeed be the answer for New Hampshire in 2016. If Sen. Ayotte could win in a landslide, as she did in 2010, there will be no controversy. And then a new governor can sign off on election reform.

Louis Wyman and John Durkin would no doubt approve.

Mike Moffett of Loudon is a retired Marine Corps officer, professor, and author.

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