By Christian Wade | The Center Square
The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office has issued a ‘cease and desist’ order to the state’s Democratic Party over political mailers, claiming they contain misleading information about voting by mail.
In a letter to the Democratic Party’s legal counsel, Attorney General John Formella said the mailers urging voters to request absentee ballot applications for the midterm elections provided the wrong addresses for city and town clerks and other errors that are “causing voter confusion and frustration” for voters.
He ordered the party to immediately stop sending out “inaccurate information” to voters and reach out to the more than 900 voters in 39 cities and towns who received the incorrect mailers to clarify any errors and explain what they need to do to obtain an absentee ballot.
“The return mail addresses on the mailer are likely to mislead voters into intentionally violating (state law),” Formella wrote. “It could also disenfranchise some voters in that voters may complete absentee ballot applications believing that they will receive ballots for the general election, only to discover that their applications were never delivered to their town or city clerks.”
Formella said some voters who received the mailers were told that they “have a history of requesting absentee ballots” when they hadn’t voted by mail in the past.
Other mailers with ballot applications were sent to incorrect addresses or with self addressed envelopes to return the ballot requests to a non-existent county board of elections, he said.
He gave the party until Sept. 27 to submit a written plan to the AG’s office explaining how it will comply with the cease and desist order.
New Hampshire allows voters to cast absentee ballots ahead of state elections by mail if they will be absent from the town or city they live in on Election Day or are unable to show up to the polls because of a disability, illness, job or religious observance.
The mailers with incorrect return addresses appear to have been sent mostly to voters in the former Republican stronghold of Rockingham County, a middle-class suburban county which swung to Democratic Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
With recent polls in the Granite State showing Biden’s approval rating dwindling in the low 30s, Republicans are eyeing the state’s three up-for-grabs congressional seats – two House and one Senate – which are all currently held by Democrats.
The marquee race pits far-right conservative Republican Don Bolduc against incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in a contest that could help decide control of the U.S. Senate with Democrats currently holding a 50-50 split but with Vice President Kamala Harris having the tie-breaking vote.
National Republican and Democratic groups have poured tens of millions of dollars into the race and more spending is expected ahead of the general election.
In another closely watched congressional race, New Hampshire’s 1st District Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas faces a challenge from Republican Karoline Leavitt, a former Trump White House aide who defeated four other Republican candidates in the Sept. 13 state primary.