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Dave Solomon's State House Dome: Voter fraud talk swirls before meeting

By DAVE SOLOMON
September 10. 2017 12:58AM

THE STAGE IS SET for the meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, scheduled for Tuesday at the N.H. Institute of Politics, Saint Anselm College.

Commission Vice Chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, will make opening remarks, followed by Secretary of State Bill Gardner and former governor and White House Chief of Staff Gov. John H. Sununu.

The event will feature three panel discussions and a demonstration of "Historic New Hampshire Voting Machines Still in Use Since 1892."

Panel topics include Historical Election Turnout Statistics, Current Election Integrity Issues Affecting Public Confidence, and a Primer on Electronic Voting Systems and Election Integrity.

The issues of voter fraud and election law couldn't get any hotter in New Hampshire, as the commission visit approaches.

Lawyers for the Democratic Party and the League of Women voters will square off against lawyers from the Attorney General's office on Monday in Nashua Superior Court in the first of what will be several hearings on a lawsuit aimed at stopping implementation of the state's new election law, SB 3.

As if that wasn't enough fuel for the fire, Speaker of the House Shawn Jasper on Thursday released voter registration statistics on the November election showing that 6,540 voters registered using an out-of-state driver's license.

A good turnout from both sides of the issue is expected inside and outside the popular venue on Tuesday.

Labor voices lost

Supporters of organized labor will be watching Wednesday's Executive Council meeting to see if Gov. Chris Sununu comes forward with two new nominations for the Workers Compensation Appeals Board, which by law must have one third of its 33 members drawn from labor groups.

Sununu's refusal to reappoint long-time labor representatives Mark MacKenzie and Denis Parker to the board drew criticism from Democratic Councilors Chris Pappas and Andru Volinsky at the last Executive Council meeting on Aug. 23.

MacKenzie, former AFL-CIO president in New Hampshire, and Parker, former executive director of the State Employees Association, are icons among union members in the state and were recommended for reappointment by the Commissioner of Labor and the Workers Compensation Appeals Advisory Board.

Sununu apparently wants new blood on the board.

"The governor was sent to Concord to shake up the status quo and challenge the old way of doing things," said Sununu spokesman Ben Vihstadt. "As with any aspect of state government, it is a good thing to bring a fresh perspective and give others the opportunity to offer their time and talents to New Hampshire."

Bipartisan ballgame

New Hampshire House Democrat and Republican lawmakers will be shifting their focus to the softball diamond on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 11 a.m. when they'll meet in the First Annual Legislative Softball Classic at the Anheuser-Busch Athletic Complex in Merrimack.

The event is being sponsored by the Veterans Interest Caucus and all proceeds will go to Manchester's Liberty House, which assists homeless veterans.

Modeled in part on Washington, D.C.'s, annual Congressional Baseball Game, the seven-inning contest is a bipartisan effort to bring lawmakers together to have fun while raising money for a worthy cause.

"The initial response to this idea has been 100 percent positive," said Rep. Mike Moffett, R-Loudon, a Marine Corps veteran and member of the event's organizing committee. "It's been fun working with representatives from both sides of the aisle, as well as contributors from the private sector, to make this game a reality."

Speaker Jasper applauded the committee for pulling the event together. "Regardless of the outcome of this classic, the ultimate winners will be our homeless veterans," he said.

The game will feature some special guests and will be televised on several cable systems throughout the state. dsolomon@unionleader.com

Sununu takes a stand

Gov. Sununu waded into federal issues this week, with a call for the state's Congressional delegation to support anticipated tax reform legislation, and a statement of support for so-called "dreamers" in the debate over immigration and the decision by President Donald Trump to terminate the executive order by President Obama protecting the children of illegal immigrants from deportation.

"The President has signaled to Congress that the ball is now in their court and it is time for them to do their job," Sununu said. "They must fix America's broken immigration process. It is my hope that the House and Senate reach a legislative solution that provides children - many of whom have never known another home besides America - certainty that they can continue to contribute to society for the years to come. Our country should not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parents."

In a letter to the state's two representatives and two senators, Sununu pushed for the federal tax reform measure that Congressional Republicans are expected to unveil in the coming weeks.

"Our current tax code is overly burdensome, discourages economic growth and has lost the confidence of New Hampshire's residents and employers," he wrote. "Federal tax reform would also enhance our state's economy more than others and help make the Granite State more competitive."

According to Sununu, a successful tax reform plan would "first and foremost" simplify the tax code with lower rates, fewer brackets, a smaller number of deductions and exemptions and the elimination of special interests care-outs, loopholes and tax credits.

dsolomon@unionleader.com


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