CONCORD, N.H. — Republican House Speaker Shawn Jasper hasn’t drawn conclusions about the driver’s license and voter registration data he requested from the state, but Democrats say his questions alone point to troubling motives.
Jasper last month asked the Department of Safety and the Secretary of State’s office to compile statistics about voter registration, driver’s licenses and vehicle registration to aid lawmakers considering election law changes.
The response he received Wednesday and made public Thursday shows 6,540 people registered to vote on Election Day in November using out-of-state licenses. As of this month, about 15 percent of them had New Hampshire licenses.
State law, however, allows someone to be domiciled in New Hampshire for voting purposes and be a resident of another state for driver’s licensing purposes.
“It is likely that some unknown number of these individuals moved out of New Hampshire, it is possible that few may have never driven in New Hampshire or have ceased driving, however it is expected that an unknown number of the remainder continue to live and drive in New Hampshire,” wrote Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes and Secretary of State Bill Gardner.
Jasper didn’t draw any conclusions from the data, saying only in a statement that he appreciated the officials’ efforts to meet the requirements of existing laws. But Democrats said the request itself shows Jasper is buying into voter fraud allegations.
“Using cherry-picked data in order to support a false claim is dangerous and irresponsible. Today’s release of information by Speaker Jasper’s office fans the flames of misinformation in order to further suppress our citizens’ right to vote,” Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn said in a written statement. “The fact of the matter is that there is no requirement to obtain a NH driver’s license or register your car in order to exercise your constitutionally-protected right to vote.
Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley called voter fraud allegations a “time-honored New Hampshire Republican tradition.”
“These out of state licenses can easily be accounted for by college students who have every right to vote in the state,” he said.
Jasper did not immediately respond to a call seeking response to the Democrats’ criticism.
Gardner, a Democrat, is a member of a commission President Donald Trump created in May to investigate allegations — offered without evidence — that millions of people voted illegally in 2016. Trump also has claimed he lost New Hampshire in November because thousands of people came by bus from other states to vote against him.
The commission, which has asked states for detailed information on every voter in the United States, is meeting in New Hampshire on Tuesday.
A judge in Nashua will hold a hearing Wednesday on lawsuits challenging a new state law passed this year that requires voters who move to the state within 30 days of an election to provide proof that they intend to stay. Lawyers for the New Hampshire Democratic Party and the League of Women Voters say the law violates the state Constitution and presents confusing, unnecessary and intimidating hurdles to voting. They say it violates the state constitution and they want to stop it from taking effect.
Lawyers for the state say the lawsuits have failed to allege an “actual or imminent” injury from the law and have asked for the cases to be dismissed.
Apart from the data on out-of-state license holders, the statistics provided to Jasper show that the state is separately investigating 196 names that appear to have been marked both as having voted in both New Hampshire and another state in November 2016. Local officials also flagged 59 cases in which there was a discrepancy between the address provided for voter registration and the address on record for the person’s driver’s license.