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Election Connection

October 24, 2012

Anonymous mailings frustrate N.H. clerks

Town clerks are dealing with the results

Southern New Hampshire town clerks are frustrated with mailings from political groups they say are misleading and confusing voters.

The groups, some of which do not identify themselves, are sending residents mailers that include applications to vote and unofficial absentee ballots, clerks said.

Residents are told they can mail the forms to their town hall to register or to vote by absentee ballot, but that’s not allowed, Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said.

Registering to vote must be done in person, he said, and photo identification and proof of residency are required.

Clerks aren’t happy because it is creating additional work for them at a time when, only two weeks before the presidential election Nov. 6, they are already extremely busy, Scanlan said.

It also comes at a time when clerks and residents are preparing for implementation of the state’s new voter ID law.

Scanlan said these mailings are legal in other states. But in New Hampshire, they are a nuisance.

“It causes a lot of extra work for the clerks to help the voter through the process,” Scanlan said. “It’s tough when they have 10 other things to do.”

Some of these applications include the town clerk’s name and the Town Hall as the return address.

“It’s made to look like a request from the town clerk,” he said.

But it’s not from the clerk, and some local clerks aren’t happy.

“I think a lot of town clerks are offended by that,” Derry Town Clerk Denise Neale said.

Londonderry Town Clerk/Tax Collector Meg Seymour said she was surprised to receive a mailing with her full name. The voter thought Seymour sent it, but she had not.

Town clerks are receiving flurries of calls from confused residents.

“They say, ‘I’m already registered to vote. Why are you sending me this?’” Neale said.

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