A voter marks a ballot for the New Hampshire primary inside a voting booth at a polling place, Feb. 9, 2016, in Manchester, N.H.
Photo by David Goldman/AP

White House clings to non-existent evidence of voter fraud

For those concerned about Donald Trump’s stability as a president, last week did little to settle frayed nerves. In a meeting with several senators, Trump, fresh off his lies about secretly winning the popular vote, insisted that he would’ve won New Hampshire were it not for “thousands” of “illegally” cast ballots.

Trump reportedly added that he believes these voters were “brought in on buses” from neighboring Massachusetts. There was “an uncomfortable silence” in the room after the president made the delusional comments.

The reality-based pushback was swift. WMUR in New Hampshire reported:
The New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office said Monday that there’s no indication of widespread voter fraud in the Granite State, despite a tweet from President-elect Donald Trump that there was.

Officials said that if Trump has any evidence, he should present it.
The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office said something similar, as did a former Republican state A.G., who called the White House’s lies “shameful.” The former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, meanwhile, offered to pay $1,000 to anyone with any evidence of even one Massachusetts voter being bused into the Granite State to cast an illegal ballot last year.

So far, no one’s stepped up to claim the money.

And yet, Stephen Miller, a top White House aide, insisted yesterday that fiction is fact, and the public should believe the president’s nonsense.

Asked for evidence, Miller said “anyone who’s worked in New Hampshire politics” is aware of the imaginary fraud problem.” He added, “Everybody’s aware of the problem…. The president of the United States is correct, 100 percent.”

It is, of course, unsettling when taxpayer-funded officials, responsible for running the White House, brazenly lie about a conspiracy theory that exists only in their minds. But it’s equally problematic in this case because New Hampshire – run by a Republican governor and Republican legislature – is moving forward with new voter-suppression measures.
New Hampshire lawmakers are considering legislation that would make voting more difficult for college students, military personnel and others living temporarily in the state.

About 10 bills, all sponsored by Republicans, would tighten residency requirements, demand additional documentation, and ― for some voters ― impose fees.
In other words, Trump and the White House aren’t just lying in a “deranged” way – though that’s certainly the case – but they’re also lying in a way that may help justify voter-suppression tactics in a competitive battleground state.

If you’re not concerned about these efforts to undermine democracy, you’re probably not paying close enough attention.

Postscript:  Pressed for some kind of proof to substantiate his obvious lies, Miller said yesterday, “You have millions of people who are registered in two states.” That’s a surprisingly common point of concern among officials who work in the Trump White House, but for the record, that’s not illegal and it’s not evidence of fraud.

Second Postscript:  This was part of a flurry of falsehoods the far-right White House aide pushed yesterday. Marlk Salter, a former aide to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), noted that he’s been involved in two successful presidential primary campaigns in New Hampshire, and concluded that Stephen Miller “is a goddamn liar.”