By JOHN DISTASO
Senior Political Reporter
Sunday, Dec. 23, 2007
CONCORD – Secretary of State William Gardner says the New Hampshire Democratic Party should retrieve detailed information about state voters it sold to presidential candidates and others before a law allowing the sales was ruled unconstitutional.It's unclear what the result of Judge Carol Ann Conboy's November ruling will be. The Democrats' attorney said it may be appealed to the state Supreme Court, while the law's sponsor said he has filed an amendment to the law he believes will satisfy the judge's concerns.
The state GOP, like Gardner, wants the information retrieved and the profit made by the Democrats given to the state.
Gardner, a Democrat, said a law passed by the 2007 Legislature that requires his office to provide only to the state Democratic and Republican parties a detailed statewide list -- compiled from information gathered at the local level -- for about $450 was "wrong."
The Democratic Party has sold the lists for $65,000 each to the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson and John Edwards. The Republican Party received a list under the new law, but did not sell it for a profit, instead giving the information to candidates, party chairman Fergus Cullen has said....
...Conboy on Friday rejected the Democrats' motion for reconsideration of her November order and has scheduled a hearing for Feb. 13 to focus on a remedy.
Before the new law was passed, any member of the public could obtain the names, addresses and party affiliations of votes either locally or through the Secretary of State's office, according to Gardner and attorneys in the case.
The new law, which took effect in July, required the Secretary of State's office to compile a more detailed voter list that also included gender and the year of birth of each voter and to sell it only to the two official political parties in the state.
To qualify as a political party in the state, the party's nominee for governor must have received at least 4 percent of the vote in the last general election. That leaves out the Libertarians
Now that the law has been ruled unconstitutional, Gardner said, the Democrats "should get back what they have sold from whoever has it. Then they'd have to do something with the money."
Gardner said that the law is wrong because it allows the state's comprehensive voter data to be sold only to the chairman of each political party....
The public betrayed: A party benefits at your expense
Union Leader Editorial
Sunday, Dec. 23, 2007
On July 18, Democratic Gov. John Lynch signed an unconstitutional law passed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature to give the state's two main political parties a competitive advantage at the polls and a financial windfall. Who says? Secretary of State Bill Gardner, a Democrat, and the most trusted man in New Hampshire politics.
"It's a terrible issue," Gardner said in an interview last week. "It's wrong."
Senate Bill 98, introduced by Sen. Peter Burling, D-Cornish, directed the state to sell only to the chair of each political party "a" list of the name, street address, mailing address, town or city, gender, year of birth, voter history, and party affiliation, if any, of every registered voter in the state."
Democratic Party spokesman Pia Carusone said the bill was introduced so the parties could get voter lists with correct mailing addresses. But why include "gender, year of birth, voter history, and party affiliation," then?
"Once you could buy it in one place, then you have 800,000-plus names with dates of birth and other things that you could get with just the push of a button," Gardner said....
...Gardner says there's even more to the scandal. He said when the Libertarian Party challenged the law in court, the Democratic Party misled the judge by asserting factual claims that were not true.
"It will all come out what happened here," he said.
It should. The public needs to know the lengths to which the state Democratic Party will go -- including misleading a judge and violating the constitution -- to win elections in this state.