AP

Mowers cleared of violating NH state law after double votes

May 13, 2022, 10:10 AM | Updated: 9:11 pm

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A former Trump administration official running for Congress in New Hampshire did not violate state law by voting twice during the 2016 primary election season, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said Thursday without taking a position on whether federal law was broken.

The Associated Press reported in April that Matt Mowers cast ballots in both the Feb. 9, 2016, New Hampshire presidential primary and the New Jersey primary four months later. Legal experts said Mowers could have a violated federal law that prohibits “voting more than once” in “any general, special, or primary election.” That includes casting a ballot in separate jurisdictions “for an election to the same candidacy or office.”

Though the article did not allege violation of state law, the attorney general’s office investigated based on the report and complaints from voters. After reviewing Mowers’ voting history, rental and property records, driver license documents and other material, it concluded he did not violate New Hampshire’s law against double voting.

That law prohibits voting in the same election year in another state “where one or more federal or statewide offices or statewide questions are listed.” The office concluded that the two primaries were elections within the law’s definition, but noted that the law specifically provides a “safe harbor” if the elections were on different days and a person moved to another state between the two dates.

“Since we are not authorized to enforce New Jersey or federal law, we take no position on whether your conduct was in compliance with either New Jersey or federal law,” Myles Matteson, deputy general counsel for the attorney general’s office, wrote to Mowers.

Mowers is a leading candidate for the GOP nomination in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District, though the race is far from settled as the state has yet to complete its redistricting process and finalize the congressional map. He was the nominee in 2020 but lost to the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Chris Pappas.

In a statement Friday, Mowers said the investigation confirmed his belief that the matter was nothing more than “a partisan witch hunt” coordinated by Democrats and his primary opponents.

“As the report concluded, this matter is closed. I look forward to continuing to campaign across the district and restoring New Hampshire’s voice in Congress,” he said.

His campaign also provided a statement from former U.S. Attorney Thomas Colantuono, who said in his opinion, no federal law was broken.

Even if he violated federal law, there is little chance Mowers could face prosecution. The statute of limitations has lapsed, and there is no record of anyone being prosecuted under this specific section of federal election law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks the issue.

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Mowers cleared of violating NH state law after double votes