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Sununu says he will turn over NH voter data to federal fraud commission

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN
New Hampshire Union Leader

June 30. 2017 2:26PM
Voters cast ballots at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School in Derry. (Union Leader file photo)

CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu said he “absolutely would comply” and turn over records on all state voters to a federal anti-fraud commission that made the controversial request earlier this week.

The first-term Republican governor said those Democratic governors from Virginia, Connecticut and California that rebuffed the request are playing politics and not standing up for the integrity of the electoral process.

“Absolutely I think every state should comply. any state not complying with this is simply playing politics,” Sununu said during an appearance Friday morning on MSNBC.

“You have to have a system that you can trust, that people can believe in and this is simply a review to make sure the system we have today and the system going forward tomorrow has that integrity.”

New Hampshire Secretary of Bill Gardner serves on President Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity, the vice chairman for which, Kris Kobach, is seeking several pieces of information about all voters, including name, birthday, four digits of Social Security number and voting history dating back to 2006.

Kovach, a Republican and secretary of state of Kansas, said he believes as many as one million voted fraudulently last November.

Privacy advocates and Democratic leaders have criticized the request as an invasion of personal privacy that must be rejected.

Gilles Bissonnette, legal director of the ACLU of New Hampshire, said there are strict state laws limiting how much information about voter files can be turned over or made public.

“We expect that the secretary of state will not honor any request to produce information that is private and confidential. Any transfer of information must be in full compliance with all state disclosure laws. The Commission should not be able to obtain information that is unavailable to any ordinary member of the public,” Bissonnette said.

Typically, voters in New Hampshire are not required to provide a Social Security number to register to vote but instead produce an acceptable identification card such as a driver’s license that contains other personally-identifiable information.

Bissonnette said he’s confident Gardner would not endorse the claim of Kovach and Trump that there is widespread voter fraud without evidence to support it.

“Once again, our expectation is that, while on this commission, Secretary Gardner will only join conclusions in the Commission’s final report that support voting rights and are based on actual proven facts,” Bissonnette said.

Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley protested the move and criticized Sununu for supporting it.

“It is outrageous that Governor Sununu is characteristically shooting from the hip rather than taking the time to understand what is best for the citizens of New Hampshire,” Buckley said.

“Granite Staters will hold Sununu accountable for putting the privacy of our most personal information at risk to once again cozy up to the Trump administration and its dangerous effort to combat a problem that doesn’t exist.”

But Sununu said he expects Gardner, a Democrat and the longest serving state election official in the country, to endorse the request.

“We understand you have to have integrity in the system,” Sununu said of Gardner. “He would be the first one to stand up and say it is absolutely necessary you have to have integrity in your process.”

Gardner could not be reached for comment earlier Friday.

klandrigan@unionleader.com


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