On Monday evening, the Windham Board of Selectmen met to discuss and choose their selection for one of the three election analysts that will make up the forensic audit “team,” as mandated by SB 43, signed into law by Gov. Sununu on April 12th.
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This meeting was already shrouded in controversy as the Town Administrator had announced on April 13, that the Board had already “determined” it would deliberate and vote in a non-public session, under “reputations.” Not only did this reason not apply to this deliberation and vote, but the decision to meet in a non-public session had also apparently been made behind the scenes, as this was never an agenda item for any prior meeting.
All decisions of this type “determined” by the Board of Selectmen must be announced at a meeting in order to allow for public scrutiny and input, and this one clearly had not. The ensuing public outcry was overwhelming and the Board rightly decided to reverse their decision and meet in public for this important decision.
Only 4 of the 5 Selectmen attended Monday’s meeting (it was unclear why Jennifer Simmons chose not to participate in this historic choice). Three of the four Selectmen chose the team of Verified Voting and Dr. Andrew Appel. Selectman Breton voted for Jovan Hutton Pulitzer.
Now, there is no shortage of critics calling this choice an indication that the audit is rigged, will only exonerate LHS Associates (the company that installs the memory boards on our Accuvote vote-counting machines), because universities that accept federal funds are running the audit, etc.
No universities are running this audit. Dr. Appel is a professor at Princeton, but that in no way means Princeton Univ. is running the audit.
Verified Voting has already written an article very critical of our Accuvote machines, showing how they can be manipulated and broken into, yet according to some, they should be disqualified because their lead, Dr. Mark Lindeman, signed on to a letter critical of the Maricopa County audit in AZ.
I am starting to think that even if Christ the Immaculate Election Auditors, Inc. had been chosen Monday night, some would be critical of the selection.
When only 1 of 3 analysts that will compose this team has been named, no one has even touched a ballot or looked at a machine, no one has announced a conclusion, much less written a report, I think it a bit premature to call the venture rigged and a failure. Sen. Bob Giuda and I have not devoted the last 5 months of our lives to bring this to a conclusion that can be trusted, only to see the baton dropped just before the anchor leg of this relay race.
Remember, Tom Brady wasn’t chosen until the 6th round of the 2000 NFL draft. Would you have sold your Patriots’ season tickets after he wasn’t named in the 1st round? We need to be patient and see how the process plays out. With some calling for a do-over by the Windham Selectmen, remember, we have a firm deadline of May 27 to complete this historic audit. What a shame it would be to waste so much of the remaining time arguing over just 1/3 of the choices, and cause us to run out of the time allotted to do the actual audit.
David E. Strang, MD