By Paul Briand
This article was originally posted in the Seacoast Online on May 2nd, 2020. Link to Article
RYE – State Sen. Tom Sherman brings a double-barreled perspective to a new state committee created to protect the safety and integrity of New Hampshire’s upcoming primary and general elections colored by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Sherman, D-Rye, is a vice chair of the Senate’s Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee. He’s also a physician.
How the elections are held in September and November – in person voting, drive-through voting, absentee voting – will be influenced by the highly contagious coronavirus, according to Sherman. Above all, he said, the voting and results need to be safe, verifiable and seen as legitimate by everyone, from voters to the elections’ winners and losers.
“We want to make sure that the vote is a reliable vote, that it reflects the will of the people of New Hampshire,” he said. “One of the most important roles of government is to make sure that the people in charge got there legitimately and it a way that people can trust. I take that as sacred.”
Secretary of State William Gardner on April 27 announced the creation of an advisory committee on the use of $3.2 million in federal money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“Given the unprecedented challenges to voting posed by the coronavirus pandemic, and the concerns about the security and conduct of the September and November elections, we are taking steps to ensure that every person who chooses to vote, or work at the polls, will be able to do so despite whatever obstacles might exist at the time,” Gardner said. “We will be prepared in the event of a worst case scenario.”
According to Gardner, the money will help cover additional costs incurred at the local level for the handling and processing of absentee ballots over and above the number of those cast four years ago, and protecting the health and safety of voters and poll workers.
Sherman is one of six people appointed to the committee.