DUBLIN, NH - August 23 - Doris Haddock, known around the country as "Granny D," has officially changed her name to Doris Granny D Haddock. The name change was approved by Judge John Maher during a hearing at Cheshire Country Probate Court on Thursday, August 19. Before the name change, Doris Haddock's legal name was Ethel Doris Haddock. Her family began calling her Granny D in 1972.|
"I'm Granny D," said Haddock. "I'm 94, and I want to make it official. I want the citizens of New Hampshire to be able to vote for Granny D-this is how people know me."
Haddock, who is the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, petitioned the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission under RSA 665:9 to allow the use of her nickname "Granny D" on the Primary ballot. In a 4 to 1 vote the Commission denied the request, citing as reasons that the nickname included a term of endearment, was associated with a walk in favor of a specific political cause, and was not derived from the candidate's given name. The nicknames of two other petitioners, candidates Randolph "Rip" Holden and Janet "Jill" Hammond, were approved.
"To deny her the use of her name-a name that she uses everywhere, and that everybody else uses-was a disservice to democracy and to the voter," said her attorney Mark Fernald.
Haddock regularly receives mail addressed to "Granny D, Dublin, New Hampshire." A Lexis-Nexis search lists over 900 citations of major newspaper and magazine articles describing her as Doris "Granny D" Haddock, and she has been officially honored as Granny D by dozens of major cities and several states, including New Hampshire, and by speeches on the floor of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
"This was clearly a political decision, not a legal one," said Dennis Burke, the campaign's political director. "Granny D is not a deceptive name, nor is it electioneering," continued Burke. "Her long walk across the country at the age of 90 for campaign finance reform was not partisan, nor was it in support of any candidate or elected official." He also noted that "D" stands for Doris, and not for a political cause.
Burke also rejected the notion that "Granny" is a term of endearment that will unfairly influence voters. "This is silly. The law allows candidates to use the diminutive form of their names, such as "Charlie" for Charles. By definition, a diminutive is an affectionate form of address."
"The Republicans dismiss my candidacy and say I'm a long shot," said Haddock. "If they're so sure that Mr. Gregg will win, then why did they try to keep the name Granny D off the ballot?"
Under RSA 655:14-b, candidates may designate their first, middle, and given names to be used on the ballot. Haddock has filed a request with the Secretary of State to place her new legal name on the November ballot. Primary ballots are currently being printed, according to the Secretary of State's office.