An audit of the polls in Windham, New Hampshire, a town of about 15,000 people, ended another effort by Donald Trump and his supporters to find evidence of election fraud in the November 2020 election.
“We found no evidence of fraud or political bias. I have heard no one actually articulate a credible hypothesis of how fraud could account for what we found,” said Mark Lindeman, one of the three auditors and the acting co-director of Verified Voting, a nonpartisan non-profit organisation, on Thursday.
Instead, the auditors believe a folding machine used in Windham, to fold the absentee ballots before sending them to voters, was behind mistakenly adding to vote counts for candidates in four legislative seats.
On their return, the absentee ballots were fed into a counting machine but because the folds on some ballots went through a Democrats name, the ballot was either not counted or a vote was wrongly given to the Democrat.
The audit was demanded by the leaders from both parties after a recount requested by a losing Democratic candidate in one of the legislative races showed the Republicans getting hundreds of more votes than were originally counted. The auditors are now expected to issue a final report within 45 days including recommendations.
Kristi St Laurent, the losing Democratic candidate who had requested the recount, said she was satisfied with the audit and was counting on either the legislature or the secretary of state’s office to take action to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again.
“They have been very thorough, very transparent and it’s also clear that it’s multiple factors that led to the results we had on election night,” she said.
It was the former president’s statement that had drawn a lot of attention to the audit.
“Congratulations to the great Patriots of Windham, New Hampshire for their incredible fight to seek out the truth on the massive Election Fraud which took place in New Hampshire and the 2020 Presidential Election. The spirit for transparency and justice is being displayed all over the Country by media outlets which do not represent Fake News,” he had said in a statement earlier this month.
Mr Trump had said that “people are watching in droves as these Patriots work tirelessly to reveal the real facts of the most tainted and corrupt election in American history.”
Since losing the November 2020 elections, Mr Trump and many of his supporters have alleged election fraud but all their legal challenges so far have failed.
Additional reporting by agencies