CONCORD — A West Lebanon man was charged with voting twice in the 2016 election, and used his “alter ego” to sign up as a 2020 campaign ballot inspector for the New Hampshire Democratic Party.
State police arrested Vincent Marzello, 65, Thursday and charged him with voting twice in Lebanon first as himself and then a second time as Helen Elisabeth Ashley.
Both votes were cast from someone claiming to live at 101 Maple St. in West Lebanon.
State prosecutors said Marzello then used Ashley’s name to be assigned as an inspector for the upcoming elections.
Deputy Attorney General Jane Young confirmed AG Gordon MacDonald decided late Wednesday to arrest Marzello after James O’Keefe, founder of the conservative Project Veritas campaign, met with Young and other AG staffers in person about the matter earlier the same day.
State prosecutors had first received information about Marzello at the end of 2019.
The case did not get followed up in a timely manner, in part, because the AG redeployed staff from its election laws unit to other tasks to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn, she said.
“Without the involvement of Project Veritas, would we have brought the case today? Likely not. We have a couple more voter cases and in the run up to the presidential election, we are giving them to more than just the one attorney we have in the election law unit,” Young said.
“We are reallocating; we recognize when these come in, we should do them quicker; we will do better.”
But Young flatly denied the notion her office had earlier decided not to arrest Marzello for this offense.
“That chatter is absolutely false. Gordon (MacDonald) believes strongly and takes all these election law matters very seriously, and this office does not pull any punches,” Young said.
O’Keefe said he didn’t have a reason why the Attorney General’s Office would engage in what he had called a “cover up” by delaying this prosecution.
“They did not prosecute this until Project Veritas basically forced their hand,” O’Keefe said.
“I’ve been trying to figure that out. All I can tell you is the facts. They had a file that was delivered to them last December and they just sat on it.”
Video with suspect voter
O’Keefe released a video Thursday that included what O’Keefe described as an interview that a staffer with Project Veritas had with Marzello on Aug. 21.
“He said it’s not a big priority you know and said it could be friggin’ shoved under a bunch of papers and forgotten about,” Marzello says in the video.
The Project Veritas staffer then asked, “Who told you that?”
“The cop,” Marzello answered without identifying that individual.
Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley said Marzello was suspended from the role of ballot inspector last week as soon as party officials learned that these charges were being considered.
“New Hampshire’s inspectors of election are held to the highest standards, as they share responsibility for preserving the integrity of our elections,” Buckley wrote in that suspension letter to Marzello.
“It has come to our attention that you may be involved in a pending investigation, and as such we are suspending your appointment effective immediately pending resolution of the investigation.”
A Democratic Party spokeswoman said the first contact party leaders had with Marzello was when he used the other name to register online to serve as a ballot inspector.
If convicted, Marzello faces a Class B felony that could carry a prison term of up to seven years.
The Attorney General’s Office has also mounted a civil enforcement action against Marzello for “wrongful voting,” that could subject him to an additional fine of up to $5,000.