Thursday is the final day of the forensic audit in Windham, New Hampshire. Despite being chosen as a team, computer programmer and voting machine hacker Harri Hursti has managed the last remaining days of the audit by himself, opening up the voting machines to examine them forensically on Wednesday.
Hursti revealed that the data he gathers from the machines would first go to the New Hampshire Attorney General and apparently not be shared with the citizens of Windham at the same time. Disputed by some audit observers, Hursti also remarked the ballot fold scenario is one that he became aware of on his own rather than being brought to his attention by Windham resident Tom Murray during a discussion at the beginning of the audit.
In addition to defining the ballot fold discovery, Hursti remarked on Wednesday that he was unaware of when the scanners were internally cleaned or if it is done as part of maintenance. Adding that dust collected in Machine 2 was most likely the culprit of any malfunctions in the machine. He commented it was a problem easily resolved by cleaning and maintenance.
Meanwhile, members of the Government Integrity Project (GIP) maintain the ballot fold problem requires a statewide audit of the Nov. 3 election. As previously reported by UncoverDC, because of a shortage of labor and increased demand for absentee ballots due to COVID-19, Windham borrowed a folding machine from the Department of Motor Vehicles to fold ballots. According to Hursti, the machine folded the ballots incorrectly, putting the crease through Kristi St. Laurent's name, causing overvotes (resulting in uncounted ballots). Phillip Stark, who speculated the fold issue was widespread across the state, described an astonishing error rate ranging from 25% up to 72% due to ballot folding, commenting:
"Throughout New Hampshire, you're using the same voting machines, the AccuVote, and in principle, it could be an issue. It really depends where the folds are in relationship to the vote targets."
Nick Moseder, who traveled to Windham last weekend and conducted an exclusive interview with Phillip Stark and Harri Hursti after the audit last Sunday, spoke of (see video at the end of article) the well-documented issue of vote inconsistencies with machine 2, as compared to the other three machines used in Windham's election. Moseder also declared the auditors were unsuccessful in reproducing any scenario that would explain the variance with machine 2. Moseder elaborated, saying:
"Machine 2" is acting perfectly normal during this audit. It just somehow fixed itself. And I know for a fact after talking to Tom Murray that Harri Hursti cleared and zeroed out the machines before this audit. So if there was a hack on the machines that was flipping votes from Republicans to Democrats, we will never know because Harri Hursti already took care of it. The fix is in."
Many Windham residents and members of GIP have expressed serious concerns about the series of events over the last few days. They maintain, following Tom Murray and Ken Eyring's concerted efforts to push the auditors to examine ballot folds closely, the discovery was made there was indeed a problem with ballot folds and false votes for Democrat Kristin St. Laurent. Soon after, the auditors declared the folding machine from the Dept. of Motor Vehicles was the culprit in vote miscount and immediately claimed it was an isolated incident exclusive to Windham. Nonetheless, many voters disagree, asserting the auditors jumped to that conclusion without all of the facts.
Taking the matter into their own hands to determine if this was a statewide issue, at the suggestion of GIP's Tom Murray, election integrity advocates gathered the tabulator tapes from other towns and precincts in order to review for overvotes similar to what was discovered in Windham. They discovered that, in the neighboring town of Merrimack, overvotes on machine 3 resulted in 7% of ballots cast being thrown out. Machines 6 and 9 also had a high percentage of overvotes. In the town of Claremont, 12.5% of the votes cast on Machine 1 were overvotes and did not count. With 85 percent of New Hampshire using Diebold ES2000 Model A voting machines like Windham's, the group considers this a huge discovery that warrants further investigation.
Finally, GIP notes that besides having the highest number of overvotes, Machine 2 in Windham also had opposite percentage conditions from the other three machines. The group discovered the same scenario in the machines with overvotes in both Merrimack and Claremont, and speculate that every Republican stronghold in the state has at least one machine that is way out of proportion with the other ones, showing the Democrats in the lead with a high number of overvotes. Again, Hursti insists the anomalies are easily explained by a quick cleaning of the scanner with compressed air.
The Election Integrity Group hopes the New Hampshire Senate will follow the Senate's lead in Arizona by recognizing and using their power to order a kinematic scan of all the ballots in the state, which totals about 800,000 ballots.