New HampshireDepartment of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General

News Release

For Immediate Release
October 15, 2020

Kate Giaquinto, Director of Communications | 603-573-6103

Voter Alert: Hanover/Lyme Town Democratic (HLTD) Committee Issue Sample Ballot Mailer Without Proper Identifying Language

Concord, NH – Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald announces the following voter alert.


The Attorney General's Office was notified on October 14, 2020, that the Hanover/Lyme Town Democratic (HLTD) Committee had sent a mailer containing a sample ballot to 5,500 voters. The sample ballots contained in each mailer failed to include the word "sample" on the printed ballots. New Hampshire law requires the word "sample" to be placed on a ballot facsimile. The envelope that the mailer was sent in, however, bears the language "Sample Ballot Enclosed."

It is reported that the mailers were received by recipients as early as Tuesday, October 13 and HLTD was aware of the missing language by at least the morning of Wednesday, October 14. However, the Attorney General's Office was not informed until 5:29 PM on October 14. Reportedly, the word "sample" that appears on the Secretary of State's version of the sample ballots was dropped when the printer made adjustments to the margins, as requested by HLTD, in order to fill in the ovals for the Democratic candidates.

A Cease and Desist Order has been issued to the Hanover-Lyme Town Democratic Committee regarding this mailer.

Voter Alert

If a voter has received a sample ballot from the HLTD mailer, it should not be filled out or returned to their respective town clerk's office because it is not an official absentee ballot.

Official absentee ballots have the following features:

  • Secretary of State William M. Gardner's signature appears on the top right corner of the ballot beneath the New Hampshire state seal;
  • An official ballot will not have ovals that are filled-in next to candidate names; and
  • Official ballots, including absentee ballots, are generally printed on cardstock weight paper, exceptions exist for example, UOCAVA or accessible ballots.

Sample ballots, like those contained in the HLTD mailer, do not appear with the Secretary of State's signature, may have filled in ovals next to candidates' names and are printed on standard printer paper.

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:

Information about absentee ballots can be found here:

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

New Hampshire Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658