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Audit of Windham, N.H., election continues with new vote totals

  • Workers count the hand ballots during the Forensic Election Audit at the Edwards Cross Training Center in Pembroke, a New Hampshire National Guard facility, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The overhead projector and video cameras so exactly what the counters are doing. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Workers count the hand ballots during the Forensic Election Audit at the Edwards Cross Training Center in Pembroke, a New Hampshire National Guard facility, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The overhead projector and video cameras show exactly what the counters are doing. Concord Monitor — GEOFF FORESTER

  • Cyber Security expert Harri Hursti looks over paperwork in front of the boxes of paper ballots at the Edwards Cross Training Center in Pembroke on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 during the ballot counting for the Forensic Election Audit for the town of Windham. Concord Monitor photos — GEOFF FORESTER

Concord Monitor
Published: 5/18/2021 10:01:53 PM
Modified: 5/18/2021 10:01:51 PM

PEMBROKE, N.H. — Initial results from a Forensic Election Audit investigating discrepancies in Windham voting showed that four Republican candidates for the Statehouse were, indeed, shortchanged by more than 200 votes each last November.

The team of three overseers and volunteers continued their second week of work at the Edward Cross Training Center in Pembroke, a New Hampshire National Guard facility chosen for its secure environment.

Their job is to find an explanation why Democrats were credited with more votes in an early machine-tallied vote than they received in a hand recount, while Republicans were shortchanged.

The audit, set in motion by a new state law, included a thorough examination of the four AccuVote Machines, the automated vote counters that have been simultaneously praised for their ability to neutralize hackers, and criticized for being outdated.

The recent results — discovered by the audit of the four machines — showed that the Republicans had actually received about 220 additional votes than what had been announced on Nov. 3, perhaps illustrating a problem with the 40-year-old computer system.

Meanwhile, the Democratic candidate for the House got approximately 125 fewer votes.

Hand-counting by volunteers, which is continuing, began Monday, and volunteers were asked to look for fold lines on the ballots that might have been missed by the scanner.

The issue began after the vote-counting machines had finished their work on Nov. 3, revealing a victory for Republicans.

Democratic House candidate Kristi St. Laurent asked for a recount, which revealed the GOP candidates had actually won by even larger margins.

A new state law, SB 43, authorized the forensic audit and was signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu last month.

Three auditors, known for their expertise in tracking down technical errors and accurate vote counts, were chosen to supervise the process.

The process has drawn national attention to an otherwise unremarkable Statehouse race in a town of 16,000, driven in large part by conservatives eager to find evidence of widespread election fraud that could validate President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that the election was stolen from him.

The governor said his decision to sign the bill had nothing to do with the never-ending search for mistakes or fraud that would, perhaps, aid Trump.

“New Hampshire elections are safe, secure, and reliable,” Sununu said at the time. “Out of the hundreds of thousands of ballots cast this last year, we saw only very minor, isolated issues — which is proof our system works. This bill will help us audit an isolated incident in Windham and keep the integrity of our system intact.”




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