CONCORD – House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) offered the following comments relative to a petition for a special legislative session initiated by Rep. Steve Shurtleff (D-Concord). The purpose of the special session would be to modify laws relative to the ability of Secretary of State Bill Gardner to release New Hampshire voter information to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

“I have a high level of respect for Secretary of State Bill Gardner and it’s unfortunate that Representative Shurtleff and others in the Democratic Party have chosen to suggest he would divulge information that is not public. Secretary Gardner has indicated that he will only provide voter data that he is legally able to provide and that is already publicly available. He has served the people of New Hampshire honorably in his position for over 40 years. He knows the law.”

“This is political grandstanding meant to make President Trump’s Commission out to be something it most assuredly is not. I’ve read the request, and the Commission respectfully asks only for what is publicly available under the laws of the state. I know of no better steward of laws and information than Secretary Gardner, and I believe him when he says sensitive data will not be included in any data release.”

“Voter lists with basic information have been available for public review for decades. They are the basis for how our political parties and candidates contact voters. If Democrats had a genuine concern about the availability of the data, they had decades to change the law. By petitioning for a special session they demonstrate their political motives and their disregard for the usual and customary legislative process.”

“Election integrity is important to me and it is important to the voters of our state. I will not support meeting in special session for this circus-like endeavor.”

Background: RSA16 provides the ability for members to petition for a special session. If the requirements for the petition are met, the Secretary of State will mail ballots to every member of the House and Senate asking, “Are you of the opinion that the general court should meet in special session?”