State attorneys fielded 185 calls to their Election Day hotline this week — ranging from traffic complaints to registration questions to problems with voting equipment — but most complaints were resolved without the need for any formal investigation.
Assistant Attorney General Matt Broadhead said 37 of the complaints are still under review, and the state has opened at least six criminal investigations related to Tuesday’s election. Those investigations are still in the early stages, but Broadhead said they include allegations of potential mishandling of absentee ballots and voter suppression.
Many of the unresolved complaints stemmed from problems with traffic management in towns that might have outgrown their polling places, Broadhead said.
“There were a lot of calls related to long vehicle lines entering the polls,” Broadhead said. “So a lot of the unresolved issues are going to be follow ups from the towns about maybe going to more polling locations.”
All manner of election-related issues were reported to the hotline throughout the day, according to a sampling of those complaints Broadhead shared with NHPR:
- One man attempting to vote in Straham refused to provide his home address when registering and instead wanted to use a business address. In the end, Broadhead said, “he did not complete the registration process and he left the polling place.”
- Some places ran into technical problems with the accessible voting equipment used to help people with disabilities cast their ballots. Broadhead said the town of Colebrook, for example, ran into printing issues with the machines. But state officials were able to walk pollworkers through a process to fix that.
- One Derry voter was mistakenly given a ballot for neighboring Salem — and upon further inspection, local ballot clerks discovered that 11 Salem ballots were interspersed with the batch of ballots sent to Derry’s polling places. New Hampshire’s ballot counting machines “are programmed to reject ballots that aren't programmed for that jurisdiction,” Broadhead said, “so the issue was caught after the first ballot.” Broadhead said the state is also going to follow up with the printer responsible for the ballots.
These and a smattering of other problems aside, Broadhead said attorneys who were visiting polling places throughout the state on Election Day found that “this election ran very smoothly.”
“The issues that did come up were promptly resolved, and overall it looked like it was a well-run operation,” he added. “The local election officials did a fantastic job.”