We recently received the below letter written by JP Pontbriand, the Town Moderator of Hampton Falls. It is a sobering reminder on how certain people within town are willing to further drive a wedge between the community.
We believe that JP acted in good faith, and that all indications show that nothing improper was done. 80 towns in New Hampshire followed suit with Hampton Falls in moving the election from March 14th due to inclement weather.
Quoted from the Hampton Union, Selectman Ziolkowski states:
Selectmen Vice-Chairman James Ziolkowski, who has publicly stated that he felt the integrity of the voting process was threatened due to the rescheduling of the voting day to March 16 and the handling of absentee ballots, said the recount process is not finished as far as he is concerned.
“The ratification of the recount is irrelevant to me,” Ziolkowski said.
Ziolkowski said he feels another recount is in order and that an independent counsel should be appointed. He said he has requested an emergency meeting of the Board of Selectmen.
As a town we must come together now that the election and recount are over, and work to put our efforts into the future and not the past. On April 5th, there will be the first Selectman meeting since the election. Residents should attend to voice their thoughts on the pursuit that Selectman Ziolkowski has made and whether that is in the best interest of the town.
As JP’s letter states, it is important that residents understand the full details of what occurred and not just the narrative that Selectman Ziolkowski or Trustee of the Trust Fund Allan have put forth.
Dear friends and neighbors:
As many of you are hearing and reading, there are numerous questions and concerns circulating through the town about the actions of town officials with respect to the March 2017 elections. There is an active campaign to discredit the results of the election and to hold a new election. Through this campaign, serious charges of fraud, voter suppression and other unlawful acts have been recklessly voiced despite the lack of substance behind such allegations, and without regard for the damage done to people’s lives and to the community as a whole.
The people behind this campaign have been the primary source of information for the public, leading many to the conclusion that this past election has been “tainted” and should be invalidated. If that were true – if there was credible reason to call into question the legitimacy of the vote – then I would have accepted the invitation to join this campaign and call for a new election. But after hearing all of the questions and arguments raised, seeking guidance from the Secretary of State’s office, and consulting with legal counsel for the town, I am confident that there was no wrongdoing, that the integrity of the voting process was upheld, and that the election was valid.
Sadly, however, the seeds of doubt when sown, spread suspicion wherever they take root. Through this campaign, some have rushed to make their case “in the court of public opinion” in which allegations that go unchallenged can easily control the narrative. But one view controlling the narrative is more likely to obscure the truth than to bring it out, and risks fabricating a crisis rather than bringing about transparency.
I believe the community deserves to hear from all sides on these matters in order to gain a sound understanding of the events that took place, and make informed judgments about their town officials and the election process. The New Hampshire House and Senate are working on legislation that should provide direction for towns, like Hampton Falls, to resolve disputes regarding this past election. I urge everyone in our community to participate in this process as it unfolds – especially any public hearings – and to withhold judgment until all views have been heard and the facts made fully known. Let us listen to one another and reason together before we embark on an expensive and divisive journey.
A PDF copy is also available here.
Categories: Editor Letters