Gardner proud of Granite State voting procedures | Local News
CONWAY – According to longtime NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner, New Hampshire is the most open state in the country when it comes to voting, and former President Donald Trump knows it.
“I think we should all be proud of the job New Hampshire is doing with its election,” Gardner said by phone Tuesday, during his 23rd two-year term, when asked about Republican allegations of voter fraud, such as those made by John Hartman of Eaton, vice president of the Mount Washington Valley Republicans, who wrote a letter about it to the Sun.
The country’s longest-serving secretary of state has said NH gives eligible citizens every opportunity to vote. Residents are asked to provide photo ID or proof of residence, and if they have neither, people working in polling stations can vouch for that person. if they know them. Otherwise, potential voters have a rare third way to receive a ballot: the election moderator will photograph them and have them sign an affidavit stating that they are who they claim to be and are eligible to be. vote in the state.
“We don’t have provisional ballots like 46 other states do,” Gardner said, explaining that a provisional ballot “is cast by a voter whose eligibility to vote cannot be proven at the ballot box. on polling day “.
According to the Ballotpedia website, “If, after the election, the administrators determine that the elector who cast the provisional ballot was entitled to vote, the ballot will be counted as a regular ballot. … As of October 2020, all states except Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Wyoming had an interim voting process in place. Although federal law imposes interim voting processes, the states themselves define these processes. As a result, the provisional ballot can vary considerably from state to state.
In the 2016 presidential election, 755,600 people voted in New Hampshire. Of those, 1,444 had their picture taken to vote, Gardner said.
“That’s one in 755 voters,” he said, “and none of them ran out of the building without wanting to have their picture taken. I think if they weren’t a legal voter they could run.
“We are the only state in the country to have this,” Gardner continued. “A few years ago I had the opportunity to talk to Donald Trump, who was president at the time, and he said he didn’t know.
In 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton edged Trump from 348,526 to 345,790 or 47.62 to 47.25 percent.
Gardner said that in 2020, 770,597 people voted and 600 people had their photos taken to participate.
Joe Biden won the vote in Granite State, topping Trump by 424,937 to 365,600 or 52.7 to 45.5 percent.
Gardner says there have been very few cases of voter fraud here.
If convicted of illegal voting, a felony, a person faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a fine of $ 4,000. He can also lose his right to vote in future elections.
“The attorney general’s office has had a few incidents,” Gardner said, “and a few people have been charged.” He said that in 2016 there had been “about a dozen incidents” of people trying to vote more than once.
“One was a (University of New Hampshire) student (Spencer McKinnon) who voted in his hometown of Dracut, Massachusetts, and Durham,” Gardner said.
Trump claimed he lost New Hampshire because “thousands” of illegal voters came from Massachusetts by bus, according to a Politico report. At that time, New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said his office had investigated 51 cases involving possible voter fraud related to the 2016 election.
Gardner also recalled “six or eight years ago” an incident in which a man attempted to vote in both Gorham and Jackson. “The man was working in a camp and had promised to vote for someone representing the state, but when he went to Gorham that person’s name was not on the ballot because he was was from another district, ”he said. “He then went to Jackson (where the candidate was on the ballot).”
Gardner added, “I met him on a recount (at Concord). He offered to help make it work and when I asked him why he said he had voted in two places and the GA office suggested he volunteer.
Another case of electoral fraud occurred in western Lebanon.
“A guy voted twice as a transvestite in the 2016 presidential election,” Gardner said of Vincent Marzello, who first voted for himself and then as “Helen Elizabeth Ashley “. He had his picture taken and completed the elector’s affidavit.
“The attorney general’s office pursued him more significantly,” Gardner said.
According to the Patch website, Marzello, 65, “was sentenced to 90 days in prison. The prison sentence, however, was suspended for a period of two years. Marzello was also fined 10% of the $ 3,000 civil fine with the remaining funds suspended for five years.
Gardner said the checklist supervisors in each city oversee the voters lists and are currently in the midst of a “purge” of the voters lists.
Under “Voters and Checklist” RSA 654: 39 is the “Check every 10 years” rule, which since 1981 requires supervisors to “check the checklist once every 10 years”.
Supervisors began this process on June 1. They are looking for people who did not vote in the last two federal elections. In Conway, City Clerk Louise Inkell said last Thursday that about 2,201 people will receive letters saying they will be purged if they do not respond.
Inkell also said that when a registered voter moves from one city in NH to another, the checklist supervisors in the new city will electronically pull that person into their checklist using the ElectioNet voter database. from the Secretary of State and remove it from their old city’s checklist.
When a voter moves to a new state, it is the responsibility of the new city or individual to ensure that they are removed from the old checklist.