Nevertheless, the bipartisan audit has become a flashpoint in this small town. And some conservatives cling to the claim that the issue in Windham may point to broader electoral integrity problems throughout New Hampshire or beyond.
Harry Hursty, an expert on electronic voting security and part of the three-man team that led the audit, said he was surprised at the level of “malicious misinformation” revolving around the audit.
“I’m a little surprised at the level of confusion and intentional trolling,” Hursty said. “Its scale is higher than I expected. Still, we have to bring out the truth. We have to make sure that people have the facts.”
While the Windham audit ends this week, the principles of the 2020 electoral conspiracy are sure to be upheld. Among those boosting them: former President Donald Trump and his allies. In a statement Monday night, Trump captured the errors exposed by auditors in New Hampshire and then claimed – without any supporting evidence – that Democrats were somehow behind it.
“Why aren’t minority leaders Mitch McConnell and Republicans doing anything about what happened in the 2020 election? How can Democrats be allowed to get away with it?” Trump said.
Trump’s longtime political ally Corey Lewandowski, who lives in Windham, has also seized on the audit as evidence that there are voter discrepancies elsewhere.
“It’s not just about the city of Windham,” Lewandowski said in a program surrounded by conservatives, who are pushing for a comprehensive audit in New Hampshire. “We are seeing things all over this country.”
There is no indication that the presidential count was wrong, and Trump’s race is not being analyzed here. He lost the state by nearly 60,000 votes and – even if Trump managed to change his fortunes – New Hampshire’s four electoral votes would not be enough to return him to the Oval Office.
A hoarse city meeting
New Hampshire’s audit saga began after a candidate for state representative, Christie St. Laurent, narrowly missed her race and requested recount last November. The results surprised the election officials. St. Laurent’s votes fell by a total of 99, while the four Republicans who won the state’s representative seats saw an increase of nearly 300 votes in their votes.
“The whole room was completely shocked,” St. Laurent told CNN.
This set off an effort in the state legislature to authorize an audit in Windham. The measure passed on bipartisan basis and was signed by Chris Sununu, the Republican government.
But when it came time to select auditors, partisan tensions began.
A city meeting in early May attracted hundreds of attendees. Many of them condemned the city’s leaders, turned their backs on them and chanted the slogans, “Resign.”
The outrage came as the local selection board selected auditor Mark Lindemann as part of the three-man team that led the audit. Lindemann, an audit expert, has been a critic of Arizona’s GOP-led and obscurely-run ballot review. Many conservative attendees believed they should be disqualified from participating in the New Hampshire audit.
“I have to tell you that people were very angry,” said Tom Murray, a local conservative who insisted for an audit.
Bruce Bretton was the only member of the Board of Selectmen pushing for an alternate auditor. He advocated choosing Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, who claims to have invented the technique to identify fake ballots.
Forensic audits were finally underway earlier this month, led by Hursty, Lindemann, and Philippe Starck, a statistics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
In contrast to the ambiguous efforts going on in Arizona – which has also been criticized by some Republicans for lack of transparency and unclear audit methods – New Hampshire auditors said they aimed to make their process as transparent as possible. He established an independent livestream and the count is open to outside observers as well as the media. Auditors often stay throughout the day to ask questions to supervisors and the press alike.
While auditors plan to write a report on their findings, their initial assessment points to a confluence of errors.
“I’d say it’s a perfect storm,” Hursty said. “This is a conspiracy of coincidence.”
Auditors and their conservative critics agree on an issue that reduces the count: incorrectly folded ballots that cause machines to think that a ballot bubble was overshadowed when it was actually an empty bubble through which one The crease was going on.
“Right now, we’re still gathering evidence, was it happening elsewhere in New Hampshire,” Hursty said. “We need to know that.”
Hursty noted that, even with the issues that were revealed at Windham, no recalculation or post-election analyzes won the election in the city.
“The original count, recalculate, is never changing anything that gets elected,” Hursty said. “This is an exercise to find out what caused the error, but the four winners have – from day one – been the same four winners. It has never threatened. And, again, if it was widespread The fraud, which (in) would have been exposed, it would have come to the fore. There was no one. “
But after watching the audit play out, some conservative activists are still not satisfied. Another local conservative activist, Murray and Ken Eyring, who advocated the audit, said they still believed the election could have been fraudulent, contrary to the auditors’ initial findings. He also said that they are not ruling out the possibility that the presidential race could be affected, even though counting of votes and forensic audits have provided no evidence to support it.
Both men claim to have been a series of custody questions about voting machines, have raised questions about the disappearance of ballot boxes and – despite the use of livestreams and external observers – they say the process has not been transparent enough is.
“There are a lot of questions that go unanswered. Zero is very close to transparency,” Eyring said.
Hursty, who said he spent hours repeatedly fielding the same question, said the so-called missing ballots were actually boxes of records, not ballots. He said that he had looked at the series of custody concerns and determined that the law was followed. And he apologized for leaving the livestream one evening, but insisted that they had gone to length to make sure the building remained safe.
“We looked at all the access logs, everybody’s card logs, we inspected the seals again,” Hursty said. “We did everything we could to further reduce public perception that something was likely to happen.”
A push for another audit
Republicans in the city are already stressing that a comprehensive audit is needed to restore voters’ confidence in their elections, a mantra for conservatives across the country to impose new voter restrictions or the 2020 election postmortem Looking to do.
“It’s not going to end until we get a definitive answer and a definite thing, who are close friends of Lewandowski,” said Bretton, a longtime Trump supporter. “I want to see another city running their ballots and see if they have the same problem as Windham.”
Eyring said he would like to see a full statewide audit, even if it meant prompting the state legislature to summon similar election materials conducted in Arizona.
“I already know, many people who are going to see it,” Eyring said. “If we don’t trust our votes, we don’t really know that the people who served in the government are the ones who were actually elected.”
Trump’s allies have already made it clear that they would like to see a New Hampshire audit focused on the presidential race, even though an audit would not reverse the statewide election results, showing that Trump gave New Hampshire a score of more than 7. Was lost from
“If we are here to count every single vote, that every vote counts, then how are we not counting the presidential race in this election?” Lewandowski said in the program.
For Trump, he has been fascinated by Windham’s proceedings and is checking for weekly – sometimes daily – audit updates, Breton said.