Not long after Gardner made those statements, I asked him if I could see the cases he was talking about. With all of the talk about people’s perceptions of voting fraud in New Hampshire, I wanted to know more about what kind of incidents had actually been documented.
In response, Gardner readily shared his references in the form of a stack of file folders that were filled with news clippings, letters to people who’d been accused of fraud and reports filed to the Legislature. But when I read through those files more closely, there were big gaps — and the records didn’t prove the point Gardner seemed to be trying to make.
For instance, the files didn’t actually include any incidents of voter fraud from 2002 or 2006. The only incident listed from 2010 was a man who voted twice in town elections — and while he was penalized, investigators said he might have cast two ballots simply because he was confused about where he was supposed to vote.
Since then, I’ve learned that part of the reason the Secretary of State’s voter fraud docket was incomplete is that no one in state government — not even the attorney general’s office, which is actually in charge of investigating complaints into suspected voter fraud — maintained such a case file until a few months ago.