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NH AG orders Hanover-Lyme Democrats to stop sending mislabeled ‘sample’ ballots

Staff Report
Published: 10/15/2020 5:16:39 PM
Modified: 10/15/2020 5:16:32 PM

HANOVER — The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office issued a cease and desist order to the Hanover-Lyme Town Democratic Committee after the committee sent unofficial pre-filled ballots missing the word “sample” to 5,500 voters in the two towns.

In the order issued Thursday, Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Chong Yen said state law requires that sample ballots mailed by political organizations include the “sample” label.

“The purpose of this disclaimer with the ‘sample’ language, although simple, is critical to ensure that voters do not attempt to use sample ballots in lieu of official absentee ballots that can actually be counted and cast,” Chong Yen wrote. “By failing to include the word ‘sample’ on the ballots provided in the mailer, HLTD has created a situation that can cause voter confusion.”

Deb Nelson, the chair of the committee, told the Valley News on Wednesday that she takes full responsibility for the mix-up. She said she didn’t notice the word “sample” was missing until after voters received the mailings and she got a call from the New Hampshire Democratic Party on Wednesday.

The attorney general’s order requires that the committee “cease and desist” from sending out any other sample ballots without including the word “sample” and requires that the committee submit a written plan by the end of the day Friday about how it will remedy the situation and notify residents.

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