GOP House Candidate Matt Mowers Loved Voting So Much In 2016 Primaries He Did It Twice
Republican Matt Mowers, who's running for Congress in New Hampshire, voted twice during the 2016 GOP primaries. When he worked for Chris Christie’s doomed campaign, he cast an absentee ballot in the critical New Hampshire primary. Four months later, according to records obtained from the Associated Press, he voted yet again in the New Jersey primary, this time using his parents’ address. He double voted when he should’ve just taken one dip and then ended it.
Mowers, a senior adviser in Donald Trump’s administration who later held a State Department post, may have violated federal law, which prohibits “voting more than once” in “any general, special, or primary election.” (He says it was fine.) You also can’t travel the country voting in in separate jurisdictions “for an election to the same candidacy or office.” This is a presidential primary, not a Grateful Dead tour.
His voting spree won’t result in prosecution or even a fine. The statute of limitations on voter fraud is five years, and it’s been at least 100 since the 2016 primaries. However, as Politico politely states, it places Mowers "in an awkward spot at a time when much of his party has embraced the former president’s lies about a stolen 2020 election and has pushed for restrictive new election laws.” He’s an instant Democratic campaign ad lampooning GOP hypocrisy.
Incumbent Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas beat Mowers in the 2020 election. However, New Hampshire’s first congressional district is Republican-leaning and it could take a miracle to hold onto that seat in a tough election year for Democrats. A Republican nominee with such a sketchy voting record might provide that miracle. It’s perhaps why his primary opponents are gently suggesting he get the fuck out.
Broadcast journalist and candidate Gail Huff Brown plainly states, "We cannot nominate somebody to go to Congress who breaks the law and commits voter fraud. So, I do believe that Matt Mowers needs to think about his campaign, thinks about whether he drops out, thinks about whether he goes back to New Jersey.” Brown, who’s married to former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, is also a MAGA convert who promotes the Big Lie and has abandoned her previous support for abortion rights. She now calls herself a “mix of pro-life and pro-choice,” which is just pathetic.
Candidate Karoline Leavitt, a former assistant press secretary in Trump’s White House, said, "Voters deserve to know truth, they deserve transparency and they deserve leaders who are not only going to talk the talk on election integrity, but walk the walk, too, and implement those same practices in their own lives.”
Candidate Julian Acciard claims his Republican opponent’s actions prove that voter fraud is everywhere: "It's happening all over the country. To be completely honest, if I were [Mowers], I probably wouldn't stay in the race.”
Even these admittedly hilarious incidents involving Republicans are not evidence of a widespread problem. They’re still mostly outliers.
Charlie Spies, a longtime Republican election lawyer who contacted the AP at the request of Mowers’ campaign, called the matter “silly.” He said the double-voting was “at worst a gray area” of the law and “not the sort of issue anybody would spend time on.”
If Republicans are shutting down voter dropboxes and reducing early voting hours, they presumably should object to repeat voting within a single primary race. They’ve passed multiple “election integrity” laws over the past year so you’d think they’d want to make any “gray areas” as black and white as possible.
Mowers released a statement in his defense that repeatedly stressed that he didn’t break the law.
I voted in total compliance with the law. I voted here in New Hampshire in the presidential primary when I was living in Manchester, and in a totally separate election — totally separate election — while living where I was working in the New York area, because remember, I was working out of Trump Tower. I then also participated in the process down there, totally in compliance with the law.
Mowers’s campaign website includes —of course — an “election integrity” section that insists new laws are needed to “provide every American citizen with the certainty that their vote counts.”
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."