Text messages informing some Granite Staters they would receive an absentee ballot and instructing them how to complete and submit it were sent by the Service Employees International Union, N.H. Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said in a news release Tuesday.
MacDonald explained that the messages caused “confusion and concern with voters” because SEIU sent them without knowing whether the recipient had requested an absentee ballot. Some recipients of the message had either already requested or submitted an absentee ballot, and others said they plan to vote in person.
SEIU representatives confirmed they sent the messages to the organization’s current and former members, as well as some members of the public, according to MacDonald. He added that SEIU sent them to people they believe are likely to vote for candidates who support the organization’s interests.
MacDonald said some of the messages contained language supporting the Democratic nominee for president, former Vice President Joe Biden. They also included a link to the N.H. Secretary of State’s website, where voters can check the status of their absentee ballot.
The messages were sent by SEIU’s national branch, not by any state agency, Granite State municipality or SEIU’s New Hampshire affiliate, MacDonald added.
New Hampshire voters can request an absentee ballot from their municipal clerk until Nov. 2, although state officials recommend requesting and returning ballots at least two weeks before the Nov. 3 elections to ensure they will be counted. Absentee ballots must be returned to the clerk, by hand or in the mail, by 5 p.m. on Nov. 3.