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UNH student charged with a felony for voting here and in Mass. in 2016 presidential election

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 26. 2018 4:27PM




As law enforcement officials announced voter fraud charges against a University of New Hampshire student on Wednesday, a state election official said another 80 or so potential double voters have been pinpointed, bringing to more than 130 the number of suspect voters in the 2016 presidential election.

Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said his office has been paring down data the state received through the Interstate Voter Crosscheck Program.

The multi-state database compares voter information from state to state to detect voters who are registered and voted in more than one state. New Hampshire first participated in Voter Crosscheck during the 2016 presidential election.

Earlier this year, the Secretary of State turned over 51 names to Attorney General Gordon MacDonald's investigators, and three people have been indicted so far on double-voting felony charges.

"The Attorney General's investigation into these cases remains active and ongoing," MacDonald's office said in a statement.

Scanlan said Wednesday there are an additional 80 to 90 double votes they cannot explain.

"As we compile and review and exhaust our efforts to eliminate the matches, we will send them over to the Attorney General's office," Scanlan said.

John J. Kennedy, the prosecutor handling the case, said his office seeks indictments once it gathers enough evidence to bring a case to a grand jury. No grand jury has so far rejected a suspected case of voter fraud, he said.

Kennedy would not say whether investigators have uncovered any organized effort to encourage double voting.

The most recent to be charged is Spencer McKinnon, 20.

McKinnon, who identifies himself as a UNH student on his Facebook page, was indicted last week by a Strafford County grand jury, MacDonald's office announced.

He is charged with knowingly voting twice in the Nov. 8, 2016, general election.

McKinnon allegedly voted in person in Durham according to its town clerk and he voted via absentee ballot in Dracut, Mass., according to the clerk's office there.

McKinnon registered as an undeclared voter, according to the Durham town clerk's office.

McKinnon registered to vote for the first time in Dracut on Feb. 1, 2016, according to records the clerk supplied under a Massachusetts Freedom of Information Act request. McKinnon voted in the Democratic Party primary in March of that year and in town elections in May.

In September, McKinnon allegedly requested an absentee ballot be sent to his campus address at UNH so that he might vote in the general election, the information shows.

Last week, MacDonald announced the indictment of Grace and John S. Fleming Jr., who allegedly voted absentee in Hampton and in person in Belchertown, Mass. They have admitted to doing so, but say it was a mistake.

McKinnon's Facebook page shows a picture of a young man emerging from turbulent water in swim trunks. "Spartan Race" is stenciled on the wall behind him, and mentioned in posts in which he talks about the event.

"(Six) years ago I was confined to a wheelchair after multiple surgeries they told me that I came within inches of death," he writes in a recent post. They told me that they would most likely have to amputate my leg. They told me that I would never run again. They told me that my leg was a lost cause."

On Sept. 16, McKinnon ran 14 miles up Killington Mountain in Vermont Spartan Beast.

Earlier this month, McKinnon asked for contributions for his effort to travel to Honduras in January with the New Hampshire Engineering Brigade to build a water pipeline for a community in need.

UNH lists McKinnon as a member of UNH Woodsmen, a competitive co-ed sports club that competes across the Northeast in events such as chainsaw, crosscut and bow sawing, chopping, axe throwing, log rolling, pulp tossing and fire building.

Efforts to reach McKinnon via Facebook were unsuccessful.

McKinnon is charged with voting in more than one state, a Class B felony with a maximum penalty of seven years in state prison and a $4,000 fine. Anyone convicted of willful violation of election laws also could lose their right to vote under the New Hampshire Constitution.

Scanlan said initial results of the Voter Crosscheck program came up with 95,000 matches, but that was based on first and last names and dates of birth. As more data, such as middle initials and partial Social Security numbers were added, the number decreased.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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