A complaint was recently filed with the AG’s office that included a copy of a “yellow sheet” (voter guide) that was sent to the voters of Moultonborough by the town’s Supervisor of the Checklist. It simply states at the bottom that “The Selectmen, School Board, and Advisory Budget Committee Do Not Support SB2”. We are told by the Moultonborough individual who filed the complaint that the Supervisor admitted collaborating with others on the sheet. In the complaint he describes the handing out of anti-SB2 flyers on school property. He said that on March 3, another 3-page anti-SB2 flyer was sent to the families of Central School students with no return address that was simply signed “concerned parents of Central School students”.
Here is the text of the complaint:
March 27th, 2009
33 Capital Street
Concord, NH 03301
To whom it may concern:
I am writing to your office as a citizen and registered voter of Moultonborough, NH, to file a formal election complaint against a number of individuals, the Moultonboro School District (SAU45) and the Moultonboro School Board.
To begin, a current elected Supervisor of the Checklist (also running for re-election as a Supervisor of the Checklist), signed and mailed the attached flyer (postmarked 2/21/09) against a measure on the town and school ballots, Article #2 regarding adoption of SB2. It was mailed to many voters in town, possible a few thousand or more. Some flyers were signed by at least two other residents and some were received unsigned.
This complaint centers on a number of areas where I believe laws were broken and because of it, a ballot measure was unfairly defeated.
1. I believe a School Board member and Supervisor of the Checklist and others violated RSA 664:14 specifically:
Political advertising to promote the success or defeat of a measure by a business organization, labor union, or other enterprise or organization shall be signed. The name of the enterprise or organization shall be indicated and the chairman or treasurer of the enterprise or organization shall sign his name and address. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit contributions which are prohibited under RSA 664:4
She and others signed the flyer but there was no mention of its source, her candidacy or current elected office, who paid for the flyer, nor the organization that created it. It also states at the bottom that the Selectmen, School Board and Advisory Budget Committee do not support SB2 but nowhere does it mention that she is a member of the School Board and running for office, nor that this flyer was not actually sent by the School board, Selectmen or Advisory Budget Committee. Since she is member of the School board and past Chair people receiving the flyer would think that was the source and be unfairly swayed. I have also attached a copy of an email exchange where she confirmed:
– that she did indeed mail these flyers, used her return address and signed some of them
– she believed all the flyers had signatures (many did not)
– she claims to not know the authorship of the flyer (it was a group effort )
– she knew the other individuals who signed some of the flyers
A telephone campaign was also conducted using the same misinformation as contained in the yellow flyer. Unsuspecting voters were called shortly before the election and told some outrageous inaccuracies such as non-registered voters from out of town being able to vote in Moultonboro with SB2. No identification occurred as to who was calling and who they represented.
2. I believe a School Board member and Supervisor of the Checklist, the Moultonboro School District and Moultonboro School Board also caused compelled speech violations.
Firstly: A School Board member and Supervisor of the Checklist as an elected official improperly used her positions to defeat Article 2. As a Supervisor of the Checklist she certainly had access to the electronic version of the voter checklist. As a School board member she may also have access to the student mailing list. She certainly mailed many of the yellow flyers signed by her (which she admits in the email exchange) and all the flyers contained her return address.
Secondly: A three page anti SB2 document was mailed to parents using a school mailing list that is to my knowledge not available to the public as it contains the names of students from kindergarten through 8th grade. The document is unsigned and has no attribution. The envelope (also attached) has a return address of simply concerned parents of MCS (Moultonborough Central School) and is postmarked March 3, 2009. I believe that School district resources were involved in this mailing.
Thirdly: A petition against SB2 was signed by about 100 residents and an ad was placed in the local paper with the petition. Some of the signatures on the petition were obtained on school property (Moultonborough Central School). The school said officially that they never received a request for this to occur and would not allow it if it was requested. Unfortunately, I know of parents who called the school to complain that a parent, was in the parking lot telling other parents to “sign this petition if you care about your kids”. To the best of my knowledge, the School never asked her to leave.The petition was also signed by school leadership, school board members, selectmen and other elected officials.
Lastly: The yellow flyer in addition to being mailed out, was also handed out to attendees at a high school varsity basketball game in Moultonboro Academy.
I believe all these above actions above constitute clear compelled speech violations.
I recognize that the ballot day is over and the results were that SB2 was defeated. I do not believe it was a fair fight as the powers that be did not play by the rules and I believe they violated multiple laws, multiple times.
In an ideal world, the ballot question would be overturned and voters would be given a second chance in a fair ballot. If that is a possible legal remedy, great.
I would like to see the individuals responsible for these illegal acts held accountable for their actions.