When Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach isn’t trying to prove that voter fraud exists on behalf of the Trump Administration, he moonlights as a Breitbart columnist. In his most recent column, he claims to present evidence showing how New Hampshire’s election last November was swayed by 5,000 out-of-state fraudulent voters casting their ballots.
“For years, the mainstream media has ignored the problem of voter fraud and belittled those of us of us who are trying to do something about it,” wrote Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach in a recent column for Breitbart. “Now there’s proof.”
Except Kobach’s claim of “proof” has voter fraud experts scratching their heads.
New Hampshire’s House speaker released data showing that 6,450 individuals who took advantage of the state’s same-day voter registration allowance presented an out-of-state driver’s license to prove their identity. Those voters may have done so because they had recently moved to New Hampshire, which gives new transplants a 60-day grace period to obtain a state driver’s license.
Kobach found that, in the ten months since the election, just 15 percent of those 6,450 voters actually went and got themselves a New Hampshire driver’s license. Only another 213 registered a vehicle. To Kobach, this is enough evidence to suggest that more than 5,000 people travelled over state lines to fraudulently cast their vote in favor of Democrats.
“Facts have come to light that indicate that a pivotal, close election was likely changed through voter fraud on November 8, 2016,” Kobach wrote. “New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate Seat, and perhaps also New Hampshire’s four electoral college votes in the presidential election.” (President Donald Trump lost the Granite State to Hillary Clinton by a narrow margin.)
Well, not so fast. New Hampshire has about 25 universities and colleges, with a combined student enrollment of about 125,000. New Hampshire Public Radio broke down November’s election data and released heat maps back in February showing the highest concentrations of people voting with out-of-state IDs were in college towns. “Based on reports I’ve seen, people who were using out-of-state drivers licenses to vote seem to be coming from college towns in the state, and it would not be unusual for college students to be using out of state licenses,” said Rep. Marjorie Porter, a Democrat.
“He is a federal official who is alleging that 5,000 people committed felonies.”
The Washington Post tweeted Thursday night asking anyone who voted in New Hampshire last November using an out-of-state license to tell their stories. Four came forwards in the space of one hour, all four college students living in New Hampshire but hadn’t changed their licenses.
Moreover it is unusual for a federal official to make statements of “proof” in the midst of an investigation. “He is a federal official who is alleging that 5,000 people committed felonies. For a government official to say one person has committed a felony, we have to ask them to show proof,” said Justin Levitt, an elections law expert at Loyola Law School. “He knows he doesn’t have proof. It’s deeply disturbing that the person who is tasked with leading the commission on finding ways to restore confidence is running his mouth without proof.”
One of the few Democrats on the voter fraud commission — which was established by executive order in May — happens to be Bill Gardner, New Hampshire’s secretary of state. Gardner did not return VICE News’ request for comment, but told the Associated Press that he didn’t agree with Kobach’s claims, nor did he have any reason to question the outcome of last November’s election. Gardner is coming under pressure by state Democrats to leave the commission altogether. He told AP that he’d remain on it because it’s “important to figure out why Americans are losing trust in the election process.’
The voter fraud has been exhaustively researched and consistently debunked. One extensive study by Dartmouth University dug into President Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud and “five million illegals” who cost him the popular vote. It looked at everything from voting technology, whether the timing of results coming into battleground states like New Hampshire suggested that something was afoot, or whether non-citizens were casting votes. They found nothing that corroborated Trump or Kobach’s assertions about voter fraud.
Levitt sees Kobach’s willingness to seize upon those figures and create his own narrative as a classic instance of confirmation bias. “He sees voter fraud wherever he looks, even when he’s not looking at voter fraud,” said Levitt. “It is beyond distressing that someone so committed to his own version of fact is spending federal money to make recommendations on voter fraud.”