Trump's Voter Fraud Commission Holds Acrimonious Meeting In New Hampshire One witness suggested voters undergo the same kind of background check now applied to gun buyers, a function that system was never designed for.
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Tension And Protests Mark Trump Voting Commission Meeting

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Tension And Protests Mark Trump Voting Commission Meeting

Tension And Protests Mark Trump Voting Commission Meeting

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

President Trump's Election Integrity Commission went to New Hampshire yesterday to hear from witnesses about voter attitudes and voter fraud. The panel's stated mission is to find ways to boost confidence in the integrity of U.S. elections. Critics say it could do the opposite. NPR's Pam Fessler reports.

PAM FESSLER, BYLINE: One thing commissioners did yesterday was try to clear the air. The panel's Republican co-chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, recently wrote that New Hampshire had enough voter fraud last year to likely change the outcome of a Senate race. That claim didn't sit well with fellow commissioner, New Hampshire's Democratic secretary of state, Bill Gardner, who also happened to be host of Tuesday's meeting. Gardner said the problem was that Kobach had questioned whether his state's election was real and valid.

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BILL GARDNER: And it is real and valid. And it...

FESSLER: Those applauding were members of the audience, which included Democrats and voting rights advocates who think the commission's trying to make the case that voter fraud is rampant to justify restrictions like tough photo ID requirements. They note that the panel was created after Trump claimed, without evidence, that up to 5 million people voted illegally last year. Yesterday, Kobach admitted that his claims about New Hampshire were premature. He said, without further research...

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KRIS KOBACH: We will never know the answer regarding legitimacy of that particular election.

FESSLER: But witnesses told the panel that doing such research won't be easy, that voter data is limited. And it's hard to know why voters do or don't go to the polls. Some commissioners suggest it's because people don't trust the results, but University of New Hampshire political scientist Andrew Smith said the U.S. Census has found other reasons people don't vote.

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ANDREW SMITH: They just didn't bother. They weren't interested. They forgot. It was basically issues of convenience and noninterest were the major reasons.

FESSLER: Still, the panel heard from other witnesses about studies they conducted that they said showed numerous cases of illegal voting. Ken Block is with Simpatico Software Systems, which reviewed voter data in 21 states.

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KEN BLOCK: There's a high likelihood of voter fraud based on what we've done so far with our analysis. There's likely a lot more to be found, and there's many different things to look at.

FESSLER: But many election experts have challenged his results. And Commissioner Matthew Dunlap, the Democratic secretary of state of Maine, says he thinks the problems Block found are more likely the result of human error.

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MATTHEW DUNLAP: What we've discovered, as we've done some of these exact same inquiries that you do, is that people check off the wrong box. They make a mistake. The clerk gets confused.

FESSLER: It's something the commission wants to explore more. Kobach has asked states to share detailed voter information with the panel so it can look for any evidence of fraud. A number of states have balked at that request, so it's unclear what, if anything, the commission can do. Pam Fessler, NPR News.

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