A fake Craigslist ad costs a New Hampshire man the right to vote

A New Hampshire man who posted a fake Craigslist ad for a free trailer with a legislative candidate’s number on Election Day, saying it was a hoax, has lost his right to vote in the state.

Michael Drouin, 30, of Merrimack, pleaded guilty Monday to creating a false document after a deluge of unwanted calls and text messages clogged the candidate’s cell phone.

That’s only a misdemeanor, but it still disenfranchises Drouin. Under the New Hampshire Constitution, anyone convicted of a willful violation of the state’s election laws loses their right to vote in the state. His plea agreement also required a 90-day suspended jail sentence, a $250 fine, and 250 hours of community service.

“Mr. Drouin does not have the right to vote in New Hampshire for federal, state or local elections,” Matthew Conley, assistant attorney general, said in an email.

He said Drouin has the right to petition the New Hampshire Supreme Court to seek restoration of his voting rights.

The special election was held in April 2021 to replace New Hampshire Republican House Speaker Dick Hinch, who died of COVID-19 in December 2020.

The candidate, Bill Boyd, a Republican who won, turned off his phone after receiving more than 37 phone calls or text messages in 45 minutes on election morning. That day, the executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party filed a complaint.

“I experienced distress with my phone turning on and off,” Boyd said in court, WMUR-TV reported.

The attorney general’s office said Drouin’s actions could have cost Boyd the election and violate the law.

Drouin, a registered Democrat at the time who had voted in the election, told police: “It was a joke, I meant no harm,” according to an affidavit. He said that he was not sure why he had chosen the date of the election. , saying it was a bad time.

Boyd told investigators that he knew of Drouin through local organizations and had received a friend request from him on Facebook. Boyd said that he received a text from Drouin saying that he had pranked him, that it was a terrible time and that he would like to take him out to lunch to apologize.

“I want to make amends. I apologize,” Drouin said in court on Monday.

Drouin was originally charged with a felony, interfering with election communications.

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