Forensic audit lands in Pembroke, seeking answers about missing GOP votes in State House race

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  • Windham Police Captain Michael Caron brings in the electonic voting machines to the Forensic Election Audit t0 the Edward Cross Training Center Pembroke on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • New Hampshire State Police Sgt. Vincent Grieco leads other officer and the Windham Police as they bring in the ballot boxes along with the electronic voting machines for the Forensic Election Audit to the Edward Cross Training Center Pembroke on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • New Hampshire State Police and Windham Police bring in the ballot boxes along with the electronic voting machines to the Forensic Election Audit to the Edward Cross Training Center.

  • New Hampshire State Police and Windham Police bring in the ballot boxes along with the electronic voting machines to the Forensic Election Audit t0 the Edward Cross Training Center Pembroke on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Windham Police bring in the ballot boxes along with the electronic voting machines to the Forensic Election Audit t0 the Edward Cross Training Center Pembroke on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Cyber security expert Harri Hursti checks the exact time the last electronic voting machine is checked in as Windham Police Captain Michael Caron documents it at the delivery of them at the Edward Cross Training Center in Pembroke on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Auditor Mark Lindeman, co-director of the organization Verified Voting, (center), looks on. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • A man who was not registered to come into the forensic election audit at the Edward Cross Training Center on Tuesday, shows a New Hampshire State Police officer what he was filming during the introduction on May 11, 2021. The man eventually left. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Under the watchful eye of many – ”including a video documentation – cyber security expert Harri Hursti (right) and Windham Police Captain Michael Caron (center), check in the electronic voting machines from the town as the process of the forensic election audit gets started. Auditor Mark Lindeman, co-director of the organization Verified Voting, from Windham watches from behind. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

Monitor columnist
Published: 5/11/2021 4:40:48 PM

The beeps in the parking lot told you a truck was backing up, ready to unload.

Four State Troopers – wheeling dumpster-like containers, their game faces on, in single final – made their way Tuesday into the Edwards Cross Training Center, a New Hampshire National Guard facility that was chosen for its secure environment.

Four computer-like bags, voting machines inside, were then placed on a table in a room that could have passed for a grade-school cafeteria. There were cameras and a live stream video feed, areas off limits, checkpoints and police. And there were experts called in from New York City and California to crack the case of the magical moving votes in Windham, better known as a Forensic Election Audit.

It was handled in a sobering manner, showing that the Attorney General and Secretary of State are taking this procedure quite seriously. Some might shake their heads hearing about votes and equipment malfunctions dating back to the November Election.

But the numbers didn’t lie. Well, actually they did, proving something was off. After the vote-counting machine had finished its work revealing a narrow victory for Republicans, a Democrat requested a recount. A hand-count of the ballots took place a few weeks later revealing the four Republican candidates for State Representative each had about 300 more votes than was first reported by the AccuVote machines.

Foul play? No one is saying that. But some Republicans seized on the chance to question AccuVote’s reliability. That pulled the Granite State back onto the national stage, following the forensic audits in Arizona and Georgia in their pursuits of over-turning the presidential vote.

The process here will last at least through next weekend as a committee of three well-known forensic investigators: Harri Hursti and Mark Lindeman both of New York City, guided the media and election officials through a maze of complexities that are part of the formula; and Phillip Stark, who was flying to New Hampshire from the west coast and will join the hunt for the truth on Wednesday.

“How frustrating it is when the observers don’t have a clear view,” Hursti, a Finnish native and now a United States citizen, told the media and official monitors of the procedure. “Out of that frustration, we really have been trying to figure out what is the best way to make sure that you get informed and you understand what’s going on.”

The process was set in motion by Senate Bill 43, which authorized this forensic audit and was signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu last month.

But the governor said he had a different reason for signing the bill. It had nothing to do with the never-ending search for mistakes or fraud that would, perhaps, prove the election was stolen from Donald Trump.

That’s a losing fight that will not disappear. Instead, the governor showed complete faith in the way the Granite State goes about its business.

“New Hampshire elections are safe, secure, and reliable,” Sununu said. “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.”

Corey Lewandowski, who was Trump’s campaign manager, for 1½ years, lives in Windham. Lewandowski has his eye on Pembroke these days, and he’ll remain curious about these proceedings to the final conclusion.

He continues to support Trump and his accusations that Biden – through voter fraud, 11th-hour changes to state voting rules, lack of transparency in the vote count – claimed the White House illegally.

Trump’s name never surfaced, and the forensic audit was justified in light of the head-scratching vote totals that emerged after the Nov. 3 election. But at the Edwards Cross Training Center, the elephant in the room could not be ignored, and that will continued through next week.

If there’s a monkey wrench, the news will resonate with the GOP, both here and nationally.

“As you just saw today,” Hursti said, “we have the first delivery of the equipment. You will have the ability to observe everything that’s going on.”

Day 1 was orientation. On Day 2, Wednesday, the pursuit of justice begins in earnest. The nation will be curious.




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