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Politics

N.H. Senator Tells Secretary of State "To Do His Job"

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Allegra Boverman for NHPR
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Bill Gardner is the longest serving Secretary of State in the country. He's also the man most responsible for maintaining New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner took some criticism in the Senate Thursday over his role in overseeing local elections.

Speaking in favor of a bill that aims to help cities and towns better manage local elections, Sen. David Pierce criticized Gardner - repeatedly.

Pierce, a Democrat from Lebanon, told colleagues on the floor that Gardner is ignoring his duties by doing things such as not providing adequate equipment for the disabled, giving local election officials signs displaying election rules or absentee ballot envelopes. 

“The Secretary of State should do his job and provide these so our municipalities can run elections, their local elections, with the same guarantees, the same efficiency and the same procedures as they would a state election,” Pierce said. 

But many senators, including Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, quickly rose to refute these claims and defend Gardner’s record.

“I want to stand up and make sure that as we leave this chamber that we are supportive of Secretary Gardner’s fine work that he has done over the years and continues to do,” Bradley told lawmakers. 

Before the Senate wrapped up the session for the day, Pierce tried to step back from his previous comments, stressing that Gardner is only not doing "part" of his job. 

The bill failed 16 to 7. 

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