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Gardner invites chief panel critic to voter commission meeting in NH

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN
New Hampshire Union Leader

August 26. 2017 10:04PM
Secretary of State Bill Gardner, left, has invited Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York to address President Trump's Advisory Commission on Election Integrity when it meets in New Hampshire next month. 

CONCORD - Secretary of State Bill Gardner has invited Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York to address President Trump's Advisory Commission on Election Integrity when it meets in New Hampshire next month.

The invitation comes days after Schumer, in a national opinion column, called on Trump to disband the commission saying it was critical in the wake of the racist march on Charlottesville that turned deadly this month.

"We need more than just words - we also need action," Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in an opinion piece first published at Medium. "And I believe that one important way that Congress can begin to heal this painful divide in our country when we return in September is by showing that we can come together to stop the systemic disenfranchisement of American voters."

Gardner said he will urge Chairman and Vice President Mike Pence and Vice Chairman Kris Kobach to permit Schumer to speak.

"The commission should hear what the senator has to say, and given his very strong views this is a good opportunity for him to come and observe what the commission's work has been all about," Gardner said.

Schumer said if Trump rejects his request, Congress should use its power of the purse strings to starve the commission of resources.

Schumer said if Trump rejects his request, Congress should use its power of the purse string to starve the commission of resources.

"The President's recent failure to unequivocally condemn bigotry makes its rescission imperative," Schumer said of the voting panel. "If the president does not act, the Congress should prohibit its operation through one of the must-pass legislative vehicles in September."

Garder also confirmed he is inviting the state's congressional delegation to attend the Sept. 12 meeting of the commission at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics on the campus of St. Anselm College in Manchester.

Last month, U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, both D-N.H., had called on the commission to withdraw its request of the states to give information about their voters.

"This request is unprecedented in scope and raises serious privacy concerns," Shaheen and Hassan wrote.

"The requested data is highly sensitive and after recent data breaches and cyber-attacks targeting our election infrastructure, we are deeply concerned about how the Commission will maintain the security and privacy of the data."

A lawsuit trying to block Gardner from turning over information to the group ended after the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire agreed details of what the state would be sharing did not invade personal privacy.

Nationally, on Aug. 1, a federal judge declined to block the President's voter fraud commission from collecting voter data. A lawsuit attempting to block the collection of voter data could now go to a federal appeals court.

klandrigan@unionleader.com


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