On the trail: Sununu disputes Trump’s ‘massive’ voter fraud claim

  • President Donald Trump is greeted by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, left, as he arrives for a campaign rally at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Friday Aug. 28, 2020 in Londonderry, N.H. President Trump easily won the February New Hampshire Republican primary. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File) Charles Krupa

  • Gov. Chris Sununu greeted supporters before voting at the Newfields Elementary School in 2020. Courtesy

For the Monitor
Published: 5/8/2021 10:47:51 AM

Gov. Chris Sununu wants to make it crystal clear – there was no large scale election fraud in New Hampshire – as fellow Republican and former President Donald Trump has insisted.

“A discrepancy of 300 votes out of over 800,000 cast does not constitute ‘massive election fraud,’” Sununu said, pointing to an audit of the state legislative election result discrepancy in Windham.

“In fact, it is proof that New Hampshire’s voting process is the most reliable, safe, and secure in the country, and that we will ensure every last vote is accurately accounted for,” Sununu added.

The governor hammered home the same point at a news conference a couple of hours later on Thursday.

His statement and comments came after the former president hailed the Windham audit as evidence the election was stolen from him.

“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,” Trump wrote. “The spirit for transparency and justice is being displayed all over the country by media outlets which do not represent Fake News. 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. Congratulations Windham – look forward to seeing the results.”

A forensic audit is about to get underway in the November state legislative election in the Rockingham County District 7 race in Windham. With the election day results showing a narrow margin of just 24 votes, a recount was requested. The recount discovered that four long-serving AccuVote optical scanning machines that were used on Election Day shorted the four GOP candidates in the contest between 297 and 303 votes. Three other Democratic candidates were shorted 18 to 28 votes, with another Democratic candidate credited with 99 more votes than were cast. Roughly 8,600 ballots were cast overall in the state representatives’ race, according to data from the Secretary of State’s office.

Republicans asked the state Attorney General’s Office to investigate the matter, and a bill calling for the forensic audit sailed through both the state House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. It was signed into law by the governor.

“If anything, I think the fact that we’ve focused on 300 votes goes to the integrity of our system,” Sununu told reporters on Thursday. “We have the best system in the country – a system where we will do an audit even if it’s over a couple hundred votes.

“I don’t know of any other state that goes to such extents, but here, our system, 99.9 percent worked absolutely wonderfully,” the governor said. “And now we’re going to audit 300 votes.”

Trump’s statement on the Windham controversy comes as he continues to repeatedly claim, without offering concrete evidence, that the November presidential election was “stolen.”

Trump spent the eight months leading up to November’s general election slamming the push to expand voting by mail due to health concerns over casting ballots in-person amid the coronavirus pandemic, continuously claiming that the moves would trigger voter fraud and result in a “rigged election.”

There was a surge across the country in early and mail-in voting during the election, with many of those ballots cast by Democrats. After his election defeat to now-President Joe Biden, Trump refused to concede and made repeated unfounded claims that there was “massive voter fraud” and the election was “stolen.”

But his attorney general, William Barr, said in December that the Justice Department hadn’t found any widespread voter fraud. And more than 50 lawsuits filed by Trump, his reelection campaign and allies in a half a dozen states where Biden narrowly edged Trump were shot down.

Trump lost New Hampshire to Biden by more than 7 percentage points.

Trump’s latest charges of massive voter fraud in New Hampshire appears at odds with the case Granite State Republicans are making against a sweeping election and campaign finance reform bill being pushed by congressional Democrats, which would give the federal government greater say over how states run their elections.

“We don’t have a voting problem here in New Hampshire,” state GOP chair Steve Stepanek recently told the Monitor.

Trump’s latest charges seem to undercut that argument.

The Democrat-led congressional bill, known as H.R.1, passed the U.S. House earlier this year along party lines. It’s supported by all four members of New Hampshire’s all Democratic congressional delegation.

Sununu, taking aim at the measure, told reporters “we don’t need the federal government passing H.R. 1. We don’t need the federal government nationalizing our elections. We are the model that other states want to be, frankly.”

Sununu’s push back against Trump’s claims is also the latest example of the GOP governor, who is a Trump supporter, being at odds with the former president.

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