Film crew examines election process

LYNDEBOROUGH – They arrived in town Tuesday evening, members of the film crew said, “because we were told it would be an interesting place to come.”

The film crew reported they were working on a documentary called “Votergate.” The film’s Web site reports that “Votergate” is an investigative documentary uncovering the truth about new computer voting systems.

There were no fancy voting machines in Lyndeborough Tuesday, just townspeople voting by putting pencil to paper ballot.

The crew arrived as polling was winding down on Tuesday and declined to give their names as they videotaped voters, poll workers, and the general atmosphere of the old Town Hall in Lyndeborough Center.

They might have found some of the interesting things they were looking for, and probably a few features unusual even for New Hampshire.

Members of the Lafayette Artillery Company, in uniform, were selling coffee and goodies off to one side of the hall. The PTA had a table selling tickets to an upcoming fund-raiser for a new playground at the Central School. Library Trustees were in another spot selling raffle tickets for a luxury weekend get-away as a fund-raiser for the new addition to the library.

Several tables in the center of the hall, where lunch had been served by the artillery company earlier in the day, were still filed with poll workers taking a breather and people chatting.

But former Selectman Bob Rogers provided the high point, although he declined to go along with the director’s wishes to dress up a little to add “character.”

“I won’t change the way I’ve always done it,” he said to the request to add a hat and “some kind of costume.”

Rogers has continued the formal, traditional, method of closing the polls for many years, and has become a looked-for piece of fun to end a long day. He leaves the hall for a moment, going to the door to look outside, and then returns.

Each time he bellows, “Mr. Moderator, I have looked up the street and down the street and neither on foot nor on horseback do I see a registered voter. I therefore move the polls be closed.”

He always adds one more mode of transportation, always different, never known in advance. On Tuesday, it was “a one-horse sleigh.” In past years, he has taken something from the local news and used an ATV, a snowmobile, a gravel truck and even a road grader.

The director identified the film’s producer as Robert Carrillo Cohen.

A spokeswoman said it was an international documentary, and earlier in the day they had been in Wilton, Brookline and Walpole. On Wednesday they expected to be in Concord to film the ending.

“Headquarters are in this country and in London,” she said. “We are dong the New Hampshire segment. We will share film with the Committee for the American Way.”

The film will be seen in theaters and available on DVD, she said.

While the filming made conditions in an already crowded voting area a little worse, most people agreed it added some fun and excitement, something different to talk about. A record number of voters, almost 800 voting in person, had strained the facilities a little.

The feature film and DVD are being made in association with Teale Productions and Public Interest Pictures, according to the Web site,