NEW HAMPSHIRE is a small state whose biggest residential college and university campuses are dominated by out-of-state students — tens of thousands of them. Under New Hampshire law, they are entitled to vote in state elections, an unremarkable and widely known fact that easily explains why several thousand ballots were cast there last November by voters who registered on Election Day using out-of-state driver’s licenses.
Yet to Kris Kobach, the de facto head of President Trump’s commission on voting integrity, those votes are somehow “proof” that an invading horde of out-of-staters took advantage of the Granite State’s same-day registration law to cast “fraudulent votes.” In fact, there’s no evidence of that.
The real fraud is Mr. Kobach himself, Kansas’s Republican secretary of state and a gubernatorial candidate, who will torture any truth, distort any data and fudge any fact in service to his long-standing goal of suppressing votes, specifically those likely to favor Democrats. Having established himself in his home state as a propagandist, he is now peddling his claptrap on the national stage.
Mr. Kobach has made a political cottage industry of such canards, of which the New Hampshire case is a telling example. His method is to cite real numbers, then draw risible and extravagantly sinister conclusions from them.
In the case of the Granite State, he cites official figures from last fall’s elections, when 6,540 voters registered to vote and cast a ballot on Election Day. Of those voters, more than 80 percent, or 5,313, had neither been issued a New Hampshire license nor registered a car in the state 10 months later.
Aha, says Mr. Kobach, writing at Breitbart, the right-wing website, “now there’s proof” of fraud: “It seems that they never were bona fide residents of the State.”
In fact, when New Hampshire Public Radio examined the data earlier this year, it found that more than two-thirds of 5,900 day-of-election registrants who had out-of-state driver’s licenses lived in college towns, indicating most were students voting perfectly legally. Again, on most of the state’s biggest residential campuses, a majority of students — usually a sizable majority — are from out of state. That’s true at the University of New Hampshire, Dartmouth College, Keene State College, Franklin Pierce University and others.
It’s also true at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., where on Tuesday Mr. Kobach attempted to defend his baseless claim at a meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Under fire for his tendentious claims, which he used to cast doubt on the narrow victories in New Hampshire of Hillary Clinton and now-Sen. Maggie Hassan, both Democrats, he said: “Until further research is done, we will never know the answer regarding the legitimacy of this particular election.”
That’s Mr. Kobach at his most insidious, using innuendo, but never actual evidence, to impugn and subvert American democracy.