After attending my second Hampton Falls Selectmen/Public Hearing meeting in two weeks regarding the March election Its become painfully clear two sides that have very different grasp of the situation have emerged.
As I understand it the Town Moderator and Board of Selectmen sought advice from the NH Municipal Association and Town Counsel in whether the Moderator had the legal standing to postpone the election. From the evidence I heard Hampton Falls and 72 other NH communities believed they did. The Moderator and the Selectmen further consulted with Emergency Management, Police, Fire and the town snow removal contractor James Ziolkowski who by the way is also a Hampton Falls Selectmen, which in my opinion creates a potential conflict of interest given his dual roll, which should be examined as well.
With the advice received from multiple parties and the weather forecast the Moderator and Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to postpone the election. Selectmen/ Snow Plow Contractor Ziolkowski recommended to hold the election on Thursday March 16th so he had significant time to get the roads cleared. With that said the election was moved and the story should end. .
From that point on it becomes murky with accusations of illegal activity, voter suppression, illegal meeting etc. I have seen no evidence to substantiate any of it. What I have seen is well intentioned people trying to do the right thing. What I have also seen is an organized move by a group of people to attempt to cast dispersion’s on our election process because the results did not come out the way they hoped, and are looking for another bite at the apple. It fundamentally wrong. The people who ultimately made the decision to postpone were elected by us. Although I have no personal relationship with any of them I respect their decision and willingness to even accept the position as a moderator or selectmen. The job is time consuming and thankless! .
If the election was held on Tuesday and Selectmen/Snow Plow Contractor Ziolkowski was unable to keep our roads open how much voter suppression would have occurred? And when the power went out a 5:00 PM at the Town Hall and across much of the Town, and our residents couldn’t vote, how much voter suppression would have occurred then?
Folks its time to end the nonsense and move on. The Board of Selectmen need to work in our best interest. If one or more can’t work cohesively they need to resign, or we need to move forward to remove them.
Additionally the New Hampshire legislature needs to immediately resolve this issue and Senator Bradley’s Bill does that. The legislature also needs to clean up the conflicting language in the RSA, as well as provide a reasonable solution so that in the event of an emergency someone can act with full support of the law.