Secretary of State’s office impedes candidate contact with absentee ballot voters. - Granite Grok

Secretary of State’s office impedes candidate contact with absentee ballot voters.

Most candidates for public office in New Hampshire know that for a small fee they can obtain a complete list of all registered voters in their town providing names and addresses and party registrations. These are usually provided in electronic format such as Excel so that contacts by mail can be processed efficiently and inexpensively.

Unfortunately, the same is not true with the list of voters who have requested absentee ballots- and there are many more this year than previously. The office of the Secretary of State has apparently taken the position, and provided such position guidance to the Town Clerks, that such lists can be provided only to candidates or their representatives designated in notarized writing (as provided for by an express RSA) but only in hard print form rather than in electronic form (without any statutory authority for this restriction), making it much more difficult and expensive to contact those voters who have requested absentee ballots. In some circles, this might even be thought of as “voter suppression,” a term popular on the left these days.

The supposed rationale for such a position is that it is designed to protect the confidential information regarding voters. But if a printed list shows the voter’s name and address and party affiliation in discrete columns, Excel spreadsheets with the same data and no more could be created with the simple push of a computer button.

So, one might ask why the office of the Secretary of State is taking this blatantly unreasonable position and one without authority in the statutes of our state. Could it be that a large percentage of the absentee ballot requests are coming from voters having a political affiliation other than that of the current holder of the office of the SOS?

As a financial supporter of Ducks Unlimited, this writer believes that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and acts like a duck, it is probably a duck.