‘Give us back our state and give us back our sanity’ – NH considers bills to audit 2020 election results

  • Election auditors, including 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 at the Edward Cross Training Center in Pembroke on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER

Associated Press
Published: 2/2/2022 5:10:16 PM

The 2022 campaign cycle is well underway in New Hampshire, but some voters are still pushing for reviews of the last election.

Secretary of State David Scanlan on Wednesday defended the integrity of the state’s election procedures after angry activists demanded full or partial audits of the 2020 election. He said New Hampshire’s strength lies in its decentralized elections system, though he acknowledged the need to increase both training for local officials and transparency.

“The system is not perfect. There are mistakes that are made, and when they are, people are held accountable,” he told the House Election Law Committee. “But that failure at an individual level does not translate into some type of major conspiracy or collusion to do something different with the actual election results. I have complete confidence in the way New Hampshire runs its elections.”

Scanlan, who was promoted this month after the retirement of longtime Secretary of State Bill Gardner, spoke at a public hearing on a bill that would require a statewide audit of the 2020 election. The committee also heard testimony on a similar bill that would require an audit of Merrimack County results.

Rep. Tim Baxter, R-Seabrook, sponsor of the statewide audit bill, asserted that a majority of the state believes either the 2016 or 2020 elections were stolen. According to a UNH Survey Center poll, however, nearly two-thirds of New Hampshire voters believe Joe Biden won the last presidential election.

“This bill would allow every person to know the truth,” he said.

People who believe debunked conspiracy theories about the 2020 election have pushed for audits of ballots and voting machines in an increasing number of states. Many of those testifying in support of the New Hampshire bill pointed to the recent audit of a legislative race in Windham, where a discrepancy in favor of Democrats drew the attention of former President Donald Trump and his supporters seeking to bolster unfounded claims of election fraud.

The audit showed the cause of the discrepancy was not the vote-counting machine, but a separate machine used to fold absentee ballots. But those who reject that conclusion have been pushing for either getting rid of automated counting machines or performing audits.

“If you don’t do one of the two, that means you’re in on it,” said Marilyn Todd. “Give us back our state and give us back our sanity.”

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