For Immediate Release
October 15, 2010
Richard W. Head, Associate Attorney General
Attorney General Michael Delaney announced today his Office has reached a settlement agreement with Mountain West Research Center following complaints that the company was engaged in push polling in a manner that violated New Hampshire's push polling law. Under the terms of the Consent Agreement, Mountain West will pay the State $20,000 to settle the dispute.
Under New Hampshire law, push polling is defined as
(a) Calling voters on behalf of, in support of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office by telephone; and
(b) Asking questions related to opposing candidates for public office which state, imply, or convey information about the candidates character, status, or political stance or record; and
(c) Conducting such calling in a manner which is likely to be construed by the voter to be a survey or poll to gather statistical data for entities or organizations which are acting independent of any particular political party, candidate, or interest group.
RSA 664:2, XVII.
While push polling is legal in New Hampshire, any person who engages in push polling must include the following information at some point during the call:
(a) that the telephone call is being made on behalf of, in support of, or in opposition to a particular candidate for public office;
(b) identify that candidate by name; and
(c) provide a telephone number from where the push polling is conducted.
RSA 664:16-a, I.
Mountain West contacted 529 New Hampshire households during the period July 19-21, 2010. Mountain West did not provide the disclosures described in the statute. The company voluntarily stopped making the calls on July 21, 2010 upon learning that questions had been raised regarding its polling activity. Mountain West also cooperated with the Attorney General's investigation. Mountain West's voluntary cessation of its polling activities and its cooperation were factors considered by the Attorney General in determining an appropriate penalty.
Attorney General Delaney said: "An essential element of our democracy is vigilant enforcement of New Hampshire's election laws. My Office will continue to vigorously investigate election related complaints, and initiate civil or criminal enforcement actions against those who violate New Hampshire's election laws."
More information about filing elections related complaints can be found on the Attorney General's Web site at http://doj.nh.gov/elections/.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301