Former Rep. Merner To Plead Guilty With No Jail Time  

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Troy Merner


Former State Rep. Troy Merner plans to plead guilty to charges he voted illegally and stole taxpayer money, ending the controversy he caused by moving out of his elected district.

Merner, 63, is the Republican who had been representing Lancaster until he stepped down last year amid a controversy that ensnared House Speaker Sherman Packard, R-Londonderry.

Merner resigned his House seat in September 2023, after New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella’s investigation confirmed what many already knew: Merner moved out of his Lancaster-based district before winning the election in 2022. And then served the whole House session with Packard  aware of the allegations, but later insisting he had believed Merner when he said he still lived in Lancaster.

The Attorney General’s Office started investigating Merner in November of 2022, and even interviewed the then-Representative at the Carroll home he then shared with his new wife. In December of 2022, the Attorney General’s Office informed House leadership about Merner’s living situation.

Merner continued serving in the House despite the fact he did not live in his district. Packard claims he was waiting for the Attorney General’s investigation to finish. The investigation appeared to have gone dormant, however, until March of 2023, when it was learned Merner voted in Lancaster’s municipal elections. 

Once Formella’s investigation concluded in September 2023, Packard says he was able to force Merner to resign. Merner would subsequently be charged criminally for illegally voting and taking improper mileage reimbursements for travel between his former home in Lancaster and the State House in Concord.

According to a notice to enter into a plea agreement filed last week in Coos Superior Court, Merner won’t spend any time in jail. Instead, Merner agrees to pay $1,100 in restitution, not seek any elected office while on suspension for the next two years and acknowledges his right to vote is terminated. 

Merner is pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of wrongful voting and another misdemeanor for theft by deception. In exchange for the guilty pleas, the state is dropping charges of unsworn falsification, tampering with government records, and felony wrongful voting. 

Merner will need to remain on good behavior during his suspension or face the possibility of serving six months in jail on the two charges. He also needs to pay back the $1,100 in mileage reimbursements.

According to the plea notice, Merner can run for office once he’s served his sentence. However, under the New Hampshire constitution he cannot vote unless that right is restored by the state Supreme Court. 

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