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Pending Storm Stirs Legal Question Over Tuesday Elections

March 13,2017 21:14

Pending Storm Stirs Legal Question Over Tuesday Elections. A big storm on its way to New Hampshire has caused some confusion about the scheduling of town elections. | March 13, 2017, at 1:48 p.m.. MORE. LinkedIn · StumbleUpon · Google +; Cancel.

CONCORD -- The impending snowstorm is causing headaches for officials in towns across New Hampshire that hold elections on Tuesday.
A growing list of towns, including Derry and Hudson, have postponed their elections, even though the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office says state law mandates the voting take place on the second Tuesday in March.
With snow expected to start falling across the state starting Tuesday morning, and with up to 20 inches forecast in some areas, travel could be treacherous.
Earlier on Monday New Hampshire Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlon told NH1 Newsy that "our phones have been ringing off the hook about the snowstorm tomorrow and the impact that might have on the town elections."
"The position from this office is that, RSA669:1, which is in the section of the statute that talks about town elections, says very clearly that town elections shall be held on the second Tuesday in March. From our perspective there is no provision that allows for the actual statutory date of the election officers to be moved and we cannot recall it ever happening for weather or any other reason," Scanlan said.
When asked by NH1 News what would happen if towns postponed their Tuesday elections, Scanlon said, "I don't know the answer to that at this point," he said. "I think we'll have to see what happens.
"At this point we don't know how many towns if any are going to postpone the election. There may be some but we'll deal with that after tomorrow.
The governor's office says it will hold a 2pm call with the Attorney General's office to discuss options regarding Tuesday's voting.
Some towns have already taken action, postponing their voting. Among them are Bedford, Candia and Hudson, which re-scheduled their election for Thursday.

Hudson is home to state House of Representatives Speaker Shawn Jasper. Monday morning on Jack Heath's popular talk radio program New Hampshire Today, the Speaker criticized town moderators who were postponing elections due to the pending snowstorm.

Derry, Atkinson, Northwood, Newfields, and Hollis announced Monday that they will hold their election one week later, on March 21. Hampstead has pushed their voting back until March 28.


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