For Immediate Release
October 13, 2020
Kate Giaquinto, Director of Communications
firstname.lastname@example.org | 603-573-6103
Concord, NH – Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald announces the following voter alert.
The Attorney General's Office has been notified that some New Hampshire residents have received text messages containing the following message:
"Hi [Recipient's First Name]. This is important: You will soon receive your ballot in the mail. Complete your ballot, pack and seal it in the smaller affidavit envelope, then sign the affidavit printed on the outside of the affidavit envelope. Your vote will only count if you use the smaller affidavit envelope and sign it! Sign, date and seal it & be sure to put a stamp on it! Deliver your ballot to a mail or drop box. Track your ballot here: http://r.seiu.org/NHVotes Reply STOP to opt-out"
In some cases, the following statement was added to the text message:
"Vice President Biden and Senator Harris have comprehensive plans to repair our economy, healthcare system and improve racial equity across the county. You will soon receive your ballot in the mail."
The link included at the bottom of the text message reads: http://r.seiu.org/NHVotes. The link takes the user to the New Hampshire Secretary of State's website for checking the status of a voter's absentee ballot.
Voters should be aware that these text messages have not been sent by any New Hampshire town or city clerks. These text messages also have not been sent by any State agency.
The Attorney General's Office has contacted New Hampshire's State Employees' Association (SEA)/SEIU Local 1984, and confirmed that these text messages were sent by SEIU. The text messages were not sent from the New Hampshire affiliate.
SEIU representatives confirmed that they sent the text messages. They stated that they sent the text messages as a "get out the vote" effort. They sent the messages using a phone list that included both members of SEIU, former members of SEIU, and some numbers in SEIU's possession that are from members of the public. SEIU sent the text messages to recipients whom they believed were likely to vote for the candidates that support the interests of the SEIU.
Notably, the text messages permit the recipient to "opt-out" if he or she does not want to receive text messages from SEIU again. Individuals who do not want to receive future text messages from SEIU should use the "opt-out" feature.
SEIU sent the text messages without knowing whether the text message's recipient had or had not requested an absentee ballot. The text message was reportedly received by voters who did not request an absentee ballot, voters who plan to vote in-person, voters who already requested an absentee ballot, as well as voters who have already submitted a completed absentee ballot. This message has caused confusion and concern with voters.
If voters received either of the text messages, and have already requested and/or submitted their absentee ballots, they can check the status of their absentee ballots here: https://app.sos.nh.gov/Public/AbsenteeBallot.aspx.
If a voter has not yet obtained an absentee ballot, but would like to request one, the voter should contact his or her town/city clerk and request a ballot.
Voters can find the contact information for their local town or city clerks here: https://app.sos.nh.gov/Public/Reports.aspx.
Information about absentee ballots can be found here: https://sos.nh.gov/elections/voters/absentee-ballots/.
Voters are reminded that the Attorney General's Office and Secretary of State's Office are the official resources available to all New Hampshire voters and election officials for guidance and assistance regarding election related issues or concerns ahead of the General Election on November 3, 2020.
Voters with questions or concerns are urged to contact the Attorney General's Election hotline: 1-866-868-3703 (1-866-VOTER03). In the event a caller receives voicemail, the caller should leave a message. Attorneys in the office will address each message received. Inquiries and complaints may also be submitted via email at email@example.com.
New Hampshire Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301