New Hampshire Senate Bill 43 (SB43), signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu on Apr. 12, authorizes a forensic audit of the Nov. 3, 2020, Rockingham County District 7 state representative race. The much-anticipated audit, which must occur within 45 days of the signing of the bill, focuses on discrepancies with 1,363 ballots (out of a total of 10,006) cast on election day. As previously reported by UncoverDC, the vote tally changed dramatically following a requested recount, with no clear explanation as to what caused the irregularities. After signing the bill, Gov. Sununu said in a statement:

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

With the goal of transparency front and center in resolving the “Windham Incident,” the process to select the forensic analysts to perform the audit on the town’s voting machines and ballots got off to a rocky start when it was revealed the Windham Board of Selectmen would pick the forensic analyst in secret. Shocked by this revelation, GranitGrok’s Ken Eyring, who has been instrumental in pushing for the audit, urged people to email the Town Hall and attend the public meeting on Mon. Apr. 19, stating:

“With all due respect and with so much at stake, that is not the way to resolve the largest recount discrepancy in the history of NH. It is not the way to restore public confidence and integrity in our elections. In fact, it has the opposite effect—which is why I am compelled to write this uncomfortable post.”

The Selectmen reversed their decision and announced at Monday’s meeting that they concluded it was more appropriate to forego their behind-closed-doors meeting and instead choose the forensic analyst in public view at their next meeting on Monday, Apr. 26. Following the meeting, Eyring, who expressed appreciation towards the Selectmen for hearing the pleas from the public, said:

“The Selectman met Monday evening and implemented phase one of their four-part plan. They interviewed every applicant who expressed interest in being chosen, with three candidates (IMHO) standing out as being worthy of consideration; Andrew AppelAllied Security Operations Group, and Cyber Ninjas.”

The important message to take away from this story is that the Selectmen listened. Many thanks are due to Chairman McLeod for quickly turning a negative situation into a positive one. That’s how our representative government is supposed to work. Please take a few minutes and respectfully let the Selectmen know how you feel. They can be emailed at BOS@WindhamNH.gov.”

Meanwhile, on the state level, New Hampshire’s Secretary of State Bill Gardner, a Democrat, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, stating that the proposed overhauls in the Democrat-backed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, would result in a federal takeover of state elections, and was an “unjustified federal intrusion” into the way individual states conduct their elections. The state’s head elections official, who has held his position since 1976, declared:

“I am deeply troubled and concerned about the direction some in Congress would take the states in terms of the conduct of elections. This will damage voter confidence, diminish the importance of Election Day itself, and ultimately result in lower voter turnout.”

In addition to Gardner, Tuesday’s committee hearing, titled “Jim Crow: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote,” also included Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defence and Education Fund, as well as Georgia democrat and progressive activist Stacy Abrams.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party called for passage of H.R. 1, criticizing Gardner and New Hampshire Republicans for their opposition. In a live stream before the Senate committee hearing, Party chairman Raymond Buckley declared:

Anyone who has read the For the People Act understands that it’s about addressing the duel crises in our election systems—corruption and voter suppression. It will rein in the influence of corporations and billionaires U.S. elections while cracking down on unethical behavior by lawmakers.

Gardner issued a statement last month strongly criticizing the proposed legislation, accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “attacking our state by using federal authority through H.R. 1 by rendering articles of our own state constitution null and void,” adding:

“If we let Washington take away these and other articles in our constitution, they can do other damage to our state and could put our presidential primary in a perilous position. New Hampshire has a solid track record for running sound and trouble-free elections that do not warrant this type of federal meddling.”