Commentary - #14 April 19, 2005

To The Editor, Rockingham News

Thanks to you and your reporter for your coverage of Danville?s April 11 th Board of Selectmen meeting. Let me add a few points to Julie Masis? reportage on ?Alleged voting fraud.?

The allegation from the Chairman of the Board ? that some may have moved into town the day before??to stay on the campground for a day or two and then vote? -- showed a remarkable ignorance of how Four Seasons is run. It?s impossible to move in within a week. One must call to see whether there is space (there ain?t much). The Administrative Assistant must then check with the owner, who lives out of state. A leasing agreement must be executed. The prospective move-in must then make arrangements to haul a trailer some distance to get to the site and set it in place. Arrangements must be made immediately for electrical, water, propane and sewer hook-ups, etc. ?Campground? is a misnomer. There are no transients at Four Seasons in wintertime and very few during warmer seasons. Remember the snowstorm election day and night?

Also, there is no local, state or other legal requirement that, in order for residents to vote, they must have registered their cars in town by the time of voting day. When, as a new arrival from MA, I exercised my NH election-day registration right over a year ago, I was asked only for an ID and proof of residence in Danville.

Thus, the charge that ?there was a conspiracy to commit voting fraud,? is without merit. The checking of those who registered to vote on election day against records of local auto registrations is a prejudicial fishing expedition -- to find some excuse to try to discredit a referendum that allows people in trailers to continue to live at Four Seasons, as I myself do. Would town officialdom charge ?voting fraud? if another group concerned about another issue; say, the school budget, got a resolution placed on the ballot and turned out in droves to produce another result with which the officials disagree?

In this regard, it is sad to see the bad behavior of the Massachusetts state legislature duplicated at the local level in New Hampshire. Those of us from MA recall how, more than once, legislators have connived to disregard, distort or overturn referenda passed by significant majorities. Voters beware! What does democracy mean when political insiders can work behind the scenes to deny the ?will of the people? expressed through the ballot box? I didn?t go to assist democratic development in Iraq just to return and find it subverted at home.

Peter Bearse; e-mail: peterJ@politicalcommunity.us; author of We, the People: A Conservative Populism ( Lafayette, LA: Alpha Publishing, 2004).

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