Miami man charged with 2016 voter fraud

MICHAEL L. LEWIS

A Florida resident charged with fraud for voting in Hooksett came to the attention of authorities because residents reported a suspicious car parked near the town polling place, according to Police Chief Janet Bouchard.

When police confronted Miami resident Michael L. Lewis, 45, on Nov. 8, 2016, he gave them a Florida driver’s license and said he lived at a Hooksett address, Bouchard said.

“We went to the address, and they had no idea who he was,” the chief said.

On Monday, New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced an indictment against Lewis on a charge of wrongful voting.

The charge is a Class B felony, which could land Lewis in prison for 3 1/2 to seven years if he is proven guilty.

Lewis is the fourth person to face voter fraud charges in connection to the 2016 presidential election.

The other three were red-flagged by the Interstate Voter Crosscheck Program, which compares voter information in different states in an effort to detect double voting.

Spencer McKinnon, 20, a University of New Hampshire student, is accused of voting in Durham and also voting in his hometown of Dracut, Mass., by absentee ballot.

Grace and John S. Fleming, a couple in their 70s, have been charged with voting in Hampton and Belchertown, Mass.

The Flemings registered as Republicans in at least one of the towns. McKinnon had registered as a Democrat. All waived initial court appearances and have yet to go to trial.

But the Lewis charge does not involve double voting. Authorities say he violated the law by not being domiciled in the state.

Domicile is the technical term in state law that determines one’s eligibility to vote in New Hampshire.

No voter information was available about Lewis on Monday. Hooksett Town Clerk Todd Rainier said no Michael Lewis is on the town’s voter checklist.

According to MacDonald’s office, Lewis allegedly did vote in the election. But Police Chief Bouchard didn’t know whether Lewis voted or not.

Police reports say poll workers told Lewis the polls had closed and he ran into the woods when they started asking him questions, Bouchard said.

Bouchard said police found other evidence in his car that prompted them to alert the Attorney General’s Election Law Unit.

On election night, police charged Lewis with driving without a valid license, Bouchard said. He was released on the motor vehicle violation but never showed up for a court hearing, she said.

Chief Bouchard said police became involved when a Whitehall Road resident called police to report a suspicious vehicle parked near the Cawley Middle School, which serves as the town polling location.

She said the car turned out to be a rental car that Lewis had obtained in Boston the previous day.

Rainier said he remembered the incident.

“Somebody came through and registered and voted, and I remember police talking to him outside of the polling area,” he said.

Rainier said he didn’t pay much more attention. Polls had closed and he was busy compiling the results.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew T. Broadhead referred questions to Hooksett officials about Lewis’ presence on the checklist.

Broadhead said indictments charged that Lewis used his actual name to register to vote.

He said Lewis is not in custody and that it would be an “internal matter” to decide if the state would extradite Lewis from another state.

Broadhead said his office will eventually issue a report of the cross-check findings and voter fraud in the state.

mhayward@unionleader.com