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Boston and Beyond

July 19, 2013

NH attorney general to appeal court ruling on push polling

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster is appealing a court ruling that bars his office from enforcing certain state laws regulating the election of federal officials.

A superior court judge in June ruled that federal election laws pre-empt New Hampshire’s regulation of push polling — the practice of asking voters questions intended to influence their decisions.

Push polling is legal in New Hampshire as long as the candidate behind the poll is identified. The attorney general’s office sued the Bass Victory Committee, saying the committee removed Charlie Bass’s name from the polling script during the Republican’s 2010 campaign for U.S. Representative.

Bass spokesmen have denied any wrongdoing.

Attorney General Joseph Foster says he is appealing to the state Supreme Court to protect the state’s right to govern its own elections.

“Under an expansive reading of the superior court’s order, there could be little room left for state election officials to regulate in the case of candidates for federal office,” Foster said.

The court ruled in June that New Hampshire’s law is not enforceable because the Federal Elections Campaign Act regulates campaign expenditures, including those candidates spend on push polling.

The Attorney General’s office filed its notice of intent to appeal Thursday.

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