Were Vermonters Voting In New Hampshire?

by Rob Roper

The New Hampshire Speaker of the House released data showing that over 5000 people registered to vote in New Hampshire for the 2016 election using out of state drivers licenses, but have not yet – ten months later – applied for a New Hampshire driver’s license or registered a vehicle in that state. New Hampshire law requires that someone obtain a state diver’s license within 60 days of claiming residency.

If these turn out to be illegal votes, their number could have tilted the presidential race to Hillary Clinton and the U.S. Senate race to Democrat Maggie Hassan over Republican Kelly Ayotte.

Those inclined to think “voter fraud” see this as evidence of non-residents crossing boarders from non-competitive states to influence races in more competitive states. Those who believe this is nothing out of the ordinary say this is just college students registering in the state where they go to school, which is perfectly legal. Time and more analysis will tell.

But it would be interesting to find out how many (if any) Vermonters are on that list of 5000-plus.

There are always calls in Vermont — on both sides of the aisle — to help candidates in our key-primary then key-swing-state neighbor to the east. In the last election many of major Vermont political figures, such as Peter Shumlin and Madeline Kunin, spent lots of time in New Hampshire stumping for Hilary Clinton. And there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re just knocking on doors, making phone calls, or waving a sign. But if you cross the line an actually cast a ballot…well, that would be bad.

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.
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