AG clears House candidate for satirical web post inviting Massachusetts voters to cast ballots in N.H.
The state Department of Justice has cleared a candidate running for the New Hampshire House for posting a satirical video to TikTok in which she invited people living in Massachusetts to board New Hampshire-bound buses and cast ballots in the state.
The candidate, Democrat Kathleen Cavalaro of Rochester, says the video was a joke meant to highlight false claims of voter fraud made by Republicans in recent years.
"You can actually vote for me. Just get on one of those buses that comes in from Massachusetts and go to Ward 2 in Rochester and vote for me,” Cavalaro said in a May 23 post on TikTok.
Republicans, including former President Donald Trump and Gov. Chris Sununu, have alleged, without proof, that Democrats bring voters on buses from Massachusetts to cast ballots in New Hampshire.
Attorney General John Formella's office said Monday it investigated Cavalaro's post after receiving complaints.
"Based on the comment from Ms. Cavalaro that her video post is intended to be a joke, and in an interview with her, the Attorney General’s Office concludes that the video does not constitute criminal solicitation to wrongfully vote and is protected speech under the First Amendment," Formella’s office said in a statement. "Nonetheless, given that there is a risk that the video post could result in voter confusion — or lead to a criminal act if a Massachusetts resident votes in New Hampshire — this office has requested that Ms. Cavalaro consider removing her May 23 video.”
Cavalaro says the video will remain up.
“It is my protected speech; I am allowed to joke,” Cavalaro said Monday. “And for the record, I plan on continuing to make fun of Republicans.”
Cavalaro is new to state politics. She owns a jewelry business called Rage Gems & Jewelry which, according to its website, has a goal of “helping to tear down the Patriarchy.”
Before that, Cavalaro ran a marketing firm and was executive director of the Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth.
Cavalaro is the lone Democratic candidate running in Strafford District 6, for a seat now held by Republican Rep. Clifford Newton.