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Hassan vetoes bill giving election workers flexibility on processing absentee ballots

Gov. Maggie Hassan yesterday vetoed a bill that would have given town and city election officials more flexibility in counting absentee ballots.

Current law requires poll workers to process absentee ballots starting at 1 p.m. House Bill 183 would have allowed election officials to process the ballots at their leisure, so long as the polls have been open for at least two hours, and without advance notice to the public.

“I appreciate the dedication of our local election officials who make our democracy work, and I know that HB 183 was a well-intentioned attempt by sponsors to ease the process for election officials,” said Hassan, a Democrat, in a statement. “However, the final version of this bill improves flexibility and efficiency without adequately preserving the element of transparency that is the foundation of our elections system.”

The Legislature may try to override her veto. The bill enjoyed bipartisan support and passed both the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate on voice votes.

Hassan has vetoed two other bills this year, one that would have created a committee to study “end-of-life decisions” and one that would have reduced the membership of the state’s Economic Development Advisory Council.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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