New Hampshire Democrats are trying to tie the hands of their state’s top elections official over his participation in President Donald Trump’s commission on voter fraud.
State Rep. Steve Shurtleff, the Democratic House leader, sent a letter Monday to Secretary of State Bill Gardner seeking assurances that no state money would be used to pay for Gardner’s “travel or accommodations” in connection with his work on the panel, The Concord Monitor reported.
“In addition, I would hope that your state time is not used in the pursuit of your work for the commission,” Shurtleff wrote.
House Speaker Shawn Jasper, a Republican, called the letter “the height of partisan politics.”
Gardner’s office didn’t immediately respond to The Daily Democracy’s request for comment on the letter.
Democrats and election experts have denounced the panel, announced earlier this month, as an effort to lay the groundwork for new voting restrictions. Trump has falsely said that millions of people voted illegally in last year’s election. And the panel’s driving force will likely be its vice chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a leading supporter of strict voting rules.
Gardner is one of two Democrats so far named to the commission, which is being chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. Gardner has denied that widespread voter fraud exists, but has supported some voting restrictions, including a bill currently before the state legislature that would make it more difficult for some people to register and vote on the same day. Gardner is elected not by voters but by the state legislature, which is controlled by the GOP.
In a recent radio interview, Gardner defended his involvement in the Trump commission, saying he wanted to understand why people wrongly think widespread voter fraud exists.
“There is a reason I”m doing this,” he said. “It’s too bad that over half the people in the country think there is voter fraud. Let’s find out why.”
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