Here is one of those crazy, wacky, hard to understand, in English, New Hampshire Election laws I have been talking about:
666:4 Challengers Appointed by Party Committee. – The state committee of a political party may appoint a person to act as challenger of voters at any polling place in the state at a state election. A city or town committee of such a party may appoint a person to act as such challenger at any polling place in such city or town at a town election, business meeting, or city election. A statement signed by the chairman of the committee appointing him shall be sufficient evidence of the authority of any such challenger. He may be reasonably compensated for his services by the political party whose committee appointed him. He shall be assigned by the moderator or other election officer presiding at the polling place to such position within the polling place as will enable him to see and hear each voter as he offers to vote. Nothing herein contained shall deprive any other person of the right to challenge a voter as provided by law.
Source. 1979, 436:1, eff. July 1, 1979.
One might take from a few reads and re-reads of this law that challengers who are sent to an election to observe must be able to SEE and HEAR what is going on. And most importantly, who is walking up to a ballot clerk to ask for a ballot.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. I found this out in Hanover in 2002 and will do an article on that later.
Let us now reflect on the super non-resident voter town of Durham, Election Day 2008.
I received a call from an attorney who asked me to get to Durham ASAP and find out why the Durham Moderator was keeping Republican poll watchers the length of a basketball court away from the same-day-non-resident-registration tables. Off I went. Someone else was doing the same in Manchester I was told.
I had a camera and went in to find the Moderator. I noticed the hapless Republican Challengers sitting in a couple folding chairs way in the back of the registration area/polling station – a basketball court.
Attorney Chuck Douglass filed a case on behalf of the Republicans against, hold your breath, Bill Gardner, the illustrious Secretary of State of New Hampshire and by about 3pm had a ruling From Judge Abramson in favor of following election laws. No investigation ensued that I know of.
I know, I know, it’s hard to believe.
So what is the big deal in Durham, home of UNH, about letting three or four people watch all the thousand or so same-day voters register with their out of state drivers licenses and fake addresses? This is New Hampshire, no one from the AG’s Office is going to prosecute unless you are trying to expose voter fraud.