A candidate for US House from New Hampshire, a onetime aide to former President Donald Trump, is under fire for voting twice during the 2016 presidential primary season in two different states, possibly violating federal voting law.
Matt Mowers — who is running to unseat Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas in this fall’s midterm elections — cast an absentee ballot in the 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary, then cast another ballot in New Jersey’s Republican presidential primary four months later, according to an Associated Press report.
When he submitted his New Jersey ballot, Mowers reportedly used his parents’ address to re-register in his state of birth.
At the time, Mowers was working on then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential campaign. Mowers later served as a senior adviser to Trump before moving to the State Department.
As the statute of limitations has passed, there is little chance Mowers could face prosecution over the potential violation.
Still, legal experts say his actions could violate federal law.
“What he has done is cast a vote in two different states for the election of a president, which on the face of it, looks like he’s violated federal law,” David Schlutz, professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, told the Associated Press. “You get one bite at the voting apple.”
The Mowers campaign blasted the AP report Tuesday afternoon, telling The Post that the outlet had “baselessly” accused Mowers of wrongdoing.
“Matt has never voted in violation of a state’s election laws,” the campaign said in an email, while not denying that the Republican submitted two ballots.
“Matt exercised his right to vote in New Hampshire following his time spent electing Republicans as Executive Director of the New Hampshire Republican Party in the 2016 primary,” the campaign said, adding that “Matt not only voted in the New Jersey primary in June, but also then served as a delegate (for which Republican voter registration is a prerequisite) to the Republican National Convention and was an integral part of the floor operation that successfully paved the way to President Trump’s historic victory.”
The campaign also pointed to a Tweet from the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University to further claim that “the scandal implied by the AP with this vote simply does not exist.”
“The [Mowers] flap is silly. He did not vote twice in the same primary election. He voted in two different primary elections,” the tweet reads. “Only NJ requirement to re-register is to live in the county for 30 days, which he would have had plenty of time to do. Campaign professionals move around.”
Mowers’ campaign also claimed the report coincides with New Hampshire Democrats attempting “to bury bad news” while failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “tests the waters for a political comeback.”
In a separate statement, Mowers accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and fellow Democrats of “attacking” him because he will “shake up the state quo” on the Hill.
“Here is no further proof needed than the coordinated attack from career politicians like Hillary Clinton and never Trumpers who are desperate to retain relevancy,” Mowers said.
“I was proud to work for President Trump as the GOP establishment was working to undermine his nomination and accepted a job with his campaign in 2016, registered to vote and casted my vote in accordance with the law, and served as an elected Trump delegate to the Republican National Convention.”
He continued: “I was proud to be part of the historic effort to prevent Hillary Clinton from re-entering the White House, and we shouldn’t be surprised she’s joined in smearing my record.”
Charles Spiers — a Republican election lawyer who contacted the Associated Press at the request of the campaign — called the issue “silly.”
Spiers described double-voting “at worst a gray area,” of election laws, adding that it is “not the sort of issue anybody would spend time on.”
Despite the pushback, politicians on both sides of the aisle have blasted Mowers actions.
“We finally found some election fraud! It was a Republican!” tweeted Jon Cooper, former Long Island campaign chair under the Obama administration.
“Republican officials are so determined to transform voter fraud from a flimsy pretense for suppressing votes to an actual phenomenon, they keep committing it themselves,” Clinton posted on Twitter.
“My opponent @mowers potentially violated election law, and he is hiding behind his attorney, calling the report ‘silly,’” wrote Karoline Leavitt, a former assistant press secretary under the Trump administration who is running against Mowers in the House GOP primary. “This is a very, very serious allegation. Election integrity matters. Voters deserve truth and @mowers owes them an honest answer.”
Republican State Rep. Tim Baxter, who is also in the running for Pappas’ seat, swiped at Mowers as well, tweeting: “While I’m running the bill in NH for a full forensic audit of the 2020 Presidential election, @mowers is potentially breaking federal law by voting in BOTH NH and NJ. My question for ‘#JerseyMowers’: Are you running to represent #NH01 or NJ?”
News of Mowers’ potential violation comes as Republicans across the country attempt to enact stricter election and voting laws ahead of the 2022 midterms.
In New Hampshire, the state Senate recently passed a bill that would require voters to provide proof of their identities and residency within 10 days of an election or else have their ballots thrown out.