New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, signed legislation that approves a forensic audit of Windham township, where a state representative race suffered from large discrepancies in vote count, the Eagle–Tribune reported.
When signing SB 43 on April 12, Sununu emphasized that election fraud did not systematically disrupt New Hampshire’s elections.
“New Hampshire elections are safe, secure, and reliable,” Sununu said in a statement.
“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,” he continued. “This bill will help us audit an isolated incident in Windham and keep the integrity of our system intact.”
The forensic audit will examine the AccuVote voting machines and the paper ballots used in the Rockingham County District 7 state representative race.
Windham’s initial tally for District 7 found that Republicans won four out of four available seats, but that Republican candidate Julius Soti had defeated fifth-place Democrat Kristi St. Laurent by only 24 votes.
When the state recounted the votes, the four Republican candidates each gained about 300 votes and St. Laurent lost 99 votes.
In a race with 34,420 votes cast, the town inaccurately counted about 1,300, or 3.8% of the total.
The forensic audit will also examine votes for governor and senator.
Windham’s Board of Selectmen will pick a company or individual to perform the audit; the secretary of state and the state’s attorney general will jointly pick a second auditor; and then the town, SOS and AG will jointly pick a third auditor.
The town will designate its auditor in an open meeting.
“We know the eyes of the nation will be on us,” said Selectman Bruce Breton, adding the process will be “as transparent as it can ever be.”
At a meeting on Monday night, four forensic auditors gave presentations about their qualifications, including Colonel Phil Waldron, Doug Logan from Cyber Ninjas, Andrew Appel and Jovan Pulitzer.
The Board of Selectmen will choose their auditors on Monday, April 26 and the law requires that the forensic audit will be completed by May 27.
Despite Sununu’s insistence that the New Hampshire incident was isolated, it comes as several battleground states in the 2020 election come under much broader scrutiny.
Several other states, even if they chose not to pursue audits of last year’s election, have scrambled to enact election-integrity measures to safeguard future elections following the widespread concerns of fraud involving both mail-in ballots and voting machines.