By CATHERINE McLAUGHLIN, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – The state Attorney General’s Office is investigating a mailing of primary absentee ballot applications by the New Hampshire Republican Party that contain the wrong town address.
The ballot applications include the street addresses of constituents’ town clerks, but the wrong town. The ones viewed by InDepthNH.org have the towns wrongly listed as Durham.
If such ballot applications had been filled out and submitted by any voters, they would not have reached town clerks because of the wrong town address. And the voter wouldn’t have received an absentee ballot.
“The NHGOP is working to help supply voters with all of the information they need to request an Absentee Ballot or register to vote via Absentee in the run up to the 2020 election,” said Stephen Stepanek, NHGOP chairman, in a statement.
“Unfortunately a mail piece component encountered a printing mistake and once we discovered this error, we worked diligently to ensure a correct mail piece will be sent,” Stepanek said.
A tipster sent a photo to InDepthNH.org of the incorrect address of Hudson Town Clerk Patricia Berry.
Reached by phone, Berry said that after learning about the issue, she reached out to the NHGOP. Berry said they told her they were addressing the problem by re-sending correct ballots to their constituents and contacting post offices to try and get incorrect ballot applications returned to senders.
It has not been confirmed how many wrong applications were sent by the NHGOP or if any have been returned to sender.
Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said that the state has no control over third parties like the New Hampshire Republican Party sending voting information in the mail. He said that the state has heard many complaints about the mistake and that the Attorney General’s Office is looking into it.
The Attorney General’s Office didn’t immediately respond to a request for information.
The state does not yet know how many Granite Staters received the mailer from the NHGOP, or how many tried to submit it. Scanlan said that once people who tried to submit the application are found, they would have to be made aware of the issue. Other potential remedies or recourse are unclear, he said.
Scanlan underscored that “the accurate source of information is state and local election officials.” If voters are concerned about their voting process, they should seek out those sources. The Secretary of State’s website has all voting tools and information available.