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N.H. Attorney General Asking GOP To Cover Costs Of Their Absentee Mailer 'Printing Mistake'

Credit Courtesy Kathleen O'Donnell

The New Hampshire Attorney General is investigating how a recent mailer from the state Republican party ended up getting sent to approximately 50,000 residents — including some deceased people who are no longer on local voter rolls — with the wrong return address.

The mailers were billed as an “official absentee voter registration packet request.” But instead of routing back to recipients’ local election offices, the return address listed the town of Durham and its zip code. People across the state also said they received mailers addressed to long-deceased relatives, including those who never lived or voted in New Hampshire.

Official information from the state on how to vote, absentee or in-person, in the upcoming elections can be found here

As of Friday, Associate Attorney General Anne Edwards said the state intercepted 946 of those mailers from 141 different communities at the Durham Post Office. Officials from the state, Durham and the post office are working together to ensure all of the registration requests  erroneously sent to Durham end up at the appropriate location, Edwards said.

“They will be mailed to the town and city clerks who should have received the return postcards to ensure that these New Hampshire voters receive the absentee registration and voting information they requested,” Edwards said in an emailed statement Friday afternoon. “At this point, 141 town or city clerks will be receiving one or more postcards. The Attorney General’s Office will continue to retrieve return postcards from the Durham Post Office and deliver them to the correct town and city clerks.”

The state also plans to ask the Republican party to cover the costs of rerouting the mailers to the appropriate local election officials, Edwards said.

Earlier this week, the Republican party said the return address error was caused by a "printing mistake” that they were planning to correct in a follow-up mailing but declined to answer additional questions about the matter.  On Friday, the party said they are cooperating with the state's investigation.

"Since the vendor’s printing error was brought to our attention, we have been working diligently with all appropriate parties, including the Attorney General’s office, to ensure this is corrected and any potential incurred costs are reimbursed," New Hampshire GOP Communications Director Joe Sweeney wrote in an email. "We appreciate their service to our state and we will continue to work with them."

(Do you have questions about how voting will work during COVID-19? Send them to elections@nhpr.org, and we'll try to report back with answers or incorporate them into our upcoming voting guide.)