Will the upcoming forensic audit in Windham make national news? I hope not.
I hope the upcoming forensic audit goes smoothly. I hope it provides answers for the 300 vote discrepancy between the election night machine count and the later hand recount by the Secretary of State. I hope it provides clear directives to prevent such discrepancies in the future. But there is reason for concern.
I thought I would bring you up to date on the Windham situation. See my Newsletter 2/22/21 for background.
SB 43 Authorizes a Forensic Audit
After much legislative maneuvering and welcome cooperation between the NH House and Senate and the two political parties, SB 43, calling for a thorough forensic audit of the Windham results, was passed and signed by the Governor.
Negotiations between a Windham resident and Secretary of State Bill Gardner, based on requirements set out by the Windham Board of Selectmen, produced a detailed amendment agreed to by all parties. It calls fo three forensic auditors to determine the audit process and conduct the audit. One auditor is to be selected by the Windham Board of Selectmen, and one by Secretary Gardner and the NH Attorney General. The third one is to be selected jointly by the first two designees.
In a concession to skeptics that believed that the problem may have impacted more than just the Windham state representative race, hand recounts of the Windham votes for the governor and the U.S. senate race would also be conducted.
The bill requires that the ballot counting computers, the memory cards, the ballot boxes, and the ballots themselves all be examined to identify issues that could account for the discrepancy.
The audit will be public, live-streamed, and recorded. The audit itself must be completed within 45 days of passage of SB 43. By my count that is Friday, May 28.
So it sounds pretty fair and thorough. Why worry?
The Audit Could Become A Circus
It wasn’t long before the situation in Windham garnered national attention, at least by those eager to find evidence of a rigged election to support their claims that Trump actually won the presidential election. The NH Voter Integrity Group was formed and modeled itself after a similar group in Arizona.
Despite the fact that after several vote recounts, Arizona found no evidence of fraud, the Republican-controlled State Senate hired a group called Cyber Ninjas to conduct a forensic audit of the Arizona Maricopa County ballots.
News reporters will not be allowed to observer the Arizona audit. NBC News reported that Democrats and national voting rights advocates claim the process lacks adequate controls. It lacks safeguards to protect the integrity of the ballots from being stolen, defaced, or irretrievably damaged.
To further stir the pot, volunteers are being deployed to “physically canvass” Maricopa County voters and “collect information” related to voter history.
Voting rights advocates claim that, in reality, Cyber Ninjas are tasked with finding “proof” to support their allegations of voter fraud in heavily democratic Maricopa County. Read more about the circus in Arizona HERE .
The Windham Forensic Audit
Back in NH, the Windham Board of Selectmen chose Andrew Appel as their designee.. Mr. Appel is a professor of computer science at Princeton University. He has been testifying about the vulnerabilities of electronic voting machines since before I introduced my first post election audit bill in 2014.
The NH Voter Integrity Group objected to his selection because he has publicly stated that there was no fraud in the Georgia 2020 presidential election nor the one in Arizona.
The NH Voter Integrity Group is pressuring the Windham Board of Selectmen (BOS) to replace Prof Appel, selected at the last BOS meeting, with someone from Cyber Ninjas. In addition the group is seeking volunteers to go to Windham to canvass door-to-door looking for evidence of voter fraud. Sounds a lot like NH could become AZ 2.0.
Instead of an orderly investigation into the vote discrepancy in Windham with recommendations for how to prevent future debacles, we may find NH in the middle of the endless allegations of voter fraud and rigged elections regardless of the outcome of the audit.
The Windham Board of Selectmen will meet Monday night, May 3, to consider the NH Voter Integrity Group’s request to replace Prof Appel. Hopefully they will choose to maintain integrity in the process and keep Prof Appel. But regardless of their decision, we may be in for a wild ride that will likely result in unwanted publicity about NH’s election processes. Stay Tuned.