Kris Kobach’s Breathtakingly Dishonest Claim About Voter Fraud In New Hampshire

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, image from MSNBC broadcast

Back in May, President Donald Trump announced he would form a commission on “election integrity” in an effort to prove his unsubstantiated claim that he actually won the popular vote in the 2016 election when you discount the “millions of people who voted illegally” for Hillary Clinton.

To lead the commission, alongside Vice President Mike Pence, he tapped Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach, who has defended Trump’s bogus claims to the media, saying that Clinton won the popular vote thanks to “illegal votes” motivated by “the issue of immigration.”

Kobach has rarely let facts or logic get in the way of his long-running crusade against voting rights and the rights of immigrants. But now, just days before his “election integrity” commission is scheduled to hold its second meeting in New Hampshire, he may have reached a new low.

Last night, Kobach wrote a column for Breitbart—where he is now a paid columnist—claiming that he had found “proof” that the result of New Hampshire’s close U.S. Senate race last year “was likely changed through voter fraud” and that Clinton’s victory in the state might have been achieved this way as well. His “proof”? New statistics from the secretary of state showing that 6,540 people who had taken advantage of the state’s same-day voter registration had used out-of-state drivers’ licenses to vote and only 1,014 had later obtained a New Hampshire drivers’ license within the time period required by law for residents to get an in-state license. He concludes that this means that “5,313 fraudulent votes” were cast by non-residents in the New Hampshire election, so:

If the presidential contest had been closer and had come down to a margin of three or four electoral college votes, then this voter fraud might have had extraordinary consequences. Regardless, in the Senate contest, it is highly likely that voting by nonresidents changed the result.

The breathtaking, reckless dishonesty of this column is hard to overstate.

To start out with, Kobach claims to be an expert in voting rights. However, any lay person with a tiny bit of analytical thinking and ten minutes of research can discover that out-of-state college students in New Hampshire are allowed to vote in the state while maintaining their out-of-state drivers’ licenses. In fact, when New Hampshire Public Radio looked into this very issue earlier this year, they found that “out-of-state IDs were mostly used in areas surrounding college campuses.” The Washington Post, within an hour of Kobach posting his column, was able to find three New Hampshire college students who fell into this category.

And that is just the most glaringly obvious problem with Kobach’s “proof.” In order to actually conclude that any of these same-day registrations are fraudulent, the state would have to go and investigate them. It’s entirely possible that, aside from college students, some residents holding out-of-state drivers’ licenses never realize that they have to get a New Hampshire license after moving, especially if they don’t have a car—but that doesn’t mean that they’re committing voter fraud. Kobach can certainly recommend that the state look into these cases. But to declare without qualification that they all constitute voter fraud and thus swung a Senate election and nearly a presidential election is outrageously dishonest.

It’s been clear from the beginning that Trump’s commission is going about its work not with an honest intention to find the facts about election integrity, but with the mission of “proving” what Trump has claimed to be true. Kobach’s column shows that this search for voter-fraud “proof” is a total joke.