Support for audit of Windham vote grows

Kevin Landrigan, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester
·1 min read

Mar. 5—CONCORD — Town and state officials urged a House committee to quickly embrace a Senate-passed bill (SB 43) to conduct an audit into the controversial results of Windham elections for the Legislature.

Local clerks from across the state, along with election law reform groups, said the audit could help restore confidence in the automated vote counting machines used in 85% of New Hampshire cities and towns.

"We don't' know where the error occurred," said Michael O'Brien, a lobbyist representing America Votes, a left-leaning, election oversight group

Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said lawmakers need to realize the audit may not provide a simple explanation why the election returns for the four House seats in Windham were so different from the automated machines on Election Night, and a hand recount three weeks later.

"We still may never know what happened; that's again the human component of it," Scanlan told the House Elections Law Committee.

No one testified against the bill during a three-hour hearing.

Secretary of State Bill Gardner said despite this controversy becoming a frequent talking point, the difference of about 400 votes among 10,000 cast in town wasn't the largest ever seen in state history.

A 2008 recount ended up with one candidate getting 191 more votes (44% more votes) than the person got on Election Day.

"That's a bigger percentage change than we have seen in this race," Gardner said.

Supporters said the audit was needed to examine the vote-counting machines used in New Hampshire for the past 25 years..

"We meet today to verify the integrity of elections in New Hampshire; it's that simple," said Sen. Robert Giuda, R-Warren, one of those leading this legislative effort.

klandrigan@unionleader.com