Although the chairman, Vice President Pence, said in that first meeting that the commission has "no preconceived notions or pre-ordained results", the panel's co-chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, seemed to contradict him in Breitbart News last week.
In a Breitbart column last week, Kobach claimed that he had definitive proof that more than 5,000 out-of-state voters cast fraudulent ballots in 2016, tipping the Senate and potentially presidential race to Democrats. His Commission Is Going There.
The incident illustrated one of the main problems the panel faces as it goes forward with its stated mission of finding ways to instill more public confidence in US elections: The voting process is complicated and data is hard to come by, a point several witnesses emphasized on Tuesday.
Gardner has faced calls to resign from the commission since its vice chairman, Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, alleged last week that thousands voted illegally in New Hampshire because they registered using out-of-state licenses, though state law allows college students and others to do so.
"The problem that has occurred because of what you wrote is that the question of whether our election as we have recorded it is real and valid, and it is real and valid", Gardner said, prompting applause from the audience.
"That is something that we all need to stay focused on", Gardner said. "I hope we can all learn from this", he added.
Registering to vote and casting a ballot in New Hampshire while having a driver's license from another state is legal.
Also in the mix are forceful objections such as the one from Robb Paulak, who identified himself as a veteran, teacher and USA citizen, and told commissioners they were on a "witch hunt". "I think it's a reckless statement to make".
A federal judge recently reprimanded Kobach for failing to comply with federal disclosure laws, which the commission's lawyer downplayed as an "honest misunderstanding".
Dunlap said drawing a connection between motor-vehicle law compliance and election law compliance was "as absurd" as saying finding money in somebody's wallet might be proof they'd robbed a bank. "This is deeply unfortunate and a disservice to the people of New Hampshire". The issue forced Gardner to suspend plans to send the information to the commission until the names are redacted.
Smith said it's common to hear complaints that out-of-state college students are voting in New Hampshire.
In some cases, the immigrants told election officials that they weren't citizens but were kept on the rolls and were even allowed to vote, the study says. "There might be a consensus, that's my hope".
But Dunlap eviscerated Kobach's claims during the commission meeting.
If you can stand to watch it, the live stream of today's meeting is available here. Outside, more than 100 protesters held signs and chanted, "Hey hey, ho ho, this sham commission has got to go".
The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity has spurred controversy since it was established in May.
"You have Republicans generally worrying about ineligible people voting and Democrats largely thinking Republicans are just imagining things.it might be a solution that pleases both sides", he said.
The all-day hearing raises more questions about the intentions of Kobach and other commissioners, including Hans von Spakovsky of the conservative Heritage Foundation, who has a long history of pushing for voting restrictions. Kander called it "the biggest lie a sitting president has ever said". "This is not a policy difference. But they couldn't find one of the dozens of female or minority experts who've studied and written extensively on elections over the past decade", said David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research and the former director of the elections program at The Pew Charitable Trusts.