Vote fraud: It, and mistakes, happen
The Keene Sentinel was one of the most strident opponents of New Hampshire’s voter ID law during the 2011-2012 legislative session. The paper mocked the very idea that voter fraud happens in New Hampshire. So it is amusing that the state Attorney General’s office announced this month that voter fraud was committed in Keene in 2012.
Adam Kumpu of Milford was fined $1,000 and his mother, Janine Kumpu of Milford, was fined $250 for the fraud. Janine Kumpu obtained an absentee ballot in her son’s name, and he used it to vote in Milford last November. He also voted in person in Keene.
That was proven fraud. Then there is the mystery of a vote recorded in Caitlin Legacki’s name in the 2012 general election. The bloggers at Granite Grok reported last week that someone voted in Manchester in 2012 under the name of former Jeanne Shaheen spokesperson Caitlin Legacki.
We confirmed with the city clerk’s office that a vote under Legacki’s name and address was recorded. But Legacki moved out of New Hampshire shortly after the 2008 election (in which she voted) and was in St. Louis on Election Day 2012, working for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. “It certainly was news to me” that she was checked as having voted in Manchester in 2012, she told us last week.
The 2012 election was the first one in which photo IDs were required for voting in New Hampshire. As there was no challenged voter affidavit filled out in her name, there are two possibilities: Someone voted in her name and showed a photo ID, or the box was checked in error. We asked Assistant City Clerk JoAnn Ferruolo what the odds were that it was a simple error.
“The odds are good,” she said. “Mistakes happen.”
That they do. And so does fraud, which is why it is important to have laws in place that discourage it. Voter ID laws do that. So does the scrutiny of political activists like the bloggers at Granite Grok. “We know that opposition researchers were always looking at that,” Legacki said of her campaign workers’ names on the voter checklists, “so somebody would have to be pretty dumb to do that.”
No one has noted, though, that Legacki was one of many out-of-state campaign workers who moved to New Hampshire for a temporary campaign job in 2008, voted in the election, then quickly left. The state Attorney General has held that this is legal. It should not be. Fixing that loophole should make its way back onto the Legislature’s agenda.