Compelled Speech

The weak economy often generates a fear in municipal budgeteers who have become used to getting anything they want, wish for, or desire, from low attendance annual meetings. That fear makes some budgeteers attempt predictable tricks to keep taxpayer funding flowing towards their little kingdoms.

The Coalition of NH Taxpayers was alerted by a concerned citizen recently that while attending a school board meeting it was apparent, to people sitting in the cheap seats, the board was discussing sending out a mailer opposing an upcoming petitioned warrant article by using – a “private” mailing by the school board.

Seems a bit unseemly for the school board to discuss at a public meeting what they were about to do IN PRIVATE to defeat a citizen petition.

And in the past this school board, and others across the state, have used a school generated list of parents of students for their “private” mailing.

The school student/parent list is property of, and generated by, the school an is not available to the public.

A public body using public funds for the promotion or defeat of a candidate or issue is unlawful and known as “Compelled Speech.”

 

 659:44-a Electioneering by Public Employees. – No public employee, as defined in RSA 273-A:1, IX, shall electioneer while in the performance of his or her official duties or use government property, including, but not limited to, telephones, facsimile machines, vehicles, and computers, for electioneering. For the purposes of this section, "electioneer'' means to act in any way specifically designed to influence the vote of a voter on any question or office. Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Source. 2003, 172:2, eff. June 18, 2003.

(RSA 273-A:1,IX includes school boards)

If you think your municipal officials may be or are using municipal resources to electioneer please call CNHT.

And keep all documentation and witnesses available!