Guest post by Dr. David Strang, Belknap County Republican Committee State Committee Member
On November 3rd, Republicans won all 4 seats in the NH House of Representatives for the town of Windham. On a hand recount requested by one of the Democrats who lost, all 4 Republicans gained on average over 6% from their original vote total and the Democrat who asked for the recount, lost over 2% of her original total. After repeated foot-dragging and refusals by the Attorney General’s office to look into this, the largest vote total discrepancy in the history of the State, last Thursday, the NH Senate voted unanimously, 24-0, to pave the way for the AG to do his job and investigate. SB43 was originally put on a fast track to go directly to the House floor for a vote, bypassing the usual committee hearing process. But, at the last minute, House Democrats refused to support such a rules change, forcing the bill to be heard in the House Election Law Committee in early March.
In the lead-up to the planned House vote this week, the AGs office, in a surprise move Monday, notified the town of Windham of their intent to take possession of the 4 voting machines, owned by the town and its citizens, even before the legislative process had been completed. The bill hasn’t passed and therefore is not even ready for signature by the Governor. Why is the AG suddenly so anxious to take possession of these machines? After the change in the scheduled vote and swift public outcry to this planned removal of the machines, the AGs office rescinded this notice yesterday.
As this audit is being done to reassure the citizens of Windham that their machines indeed operated properly on Nov. 3rd and that their votes were counted accurately, it is felt by most involved that this Windham audit should be done in front of its citizens, not in the distant State capital of Concord. It makes no sense to subject sensitive electronic machinery to needless transport in winter and then leave them unattended in Concord, rather than locked in a secure vault in the town, which has ownership of the devices. In following with this sentiment, town officials indicated they would likely refuse to unlock the vault and allow this apparent confiscation of their machines.
To those advocating for this long-delayed investigation, it is clear the AGs office has lost the trust of the people to whom it is accountable, the citizens of not just Windham, but New Hampshire. They have clearly demonstrated their office to be an unwilling participant in this audit process and disrespectful to the rights of the citizens. SB43 is currently scheduled to be heard in the House Election Law Committee on March 5 at 10:30 am. Concerned citizens of the State should contact Committee members to urge support for this bill.
A listing of those members can be found at www.nh.gov.