As the town of Windham loses its collective mind over the Board of Selectmen’s choice of forensic auditor, SB43 (now law) makes absolutely no provision for an actual forensic audit.
The law, after several markups, merely provides for the assembly of a “Forensic Election Audit Team” to conduct a regular audit as described in Section 3, subsection III. (Yes, that really is how they numbered it.)
We want to thank Sarah Riggs Ibanez for this op-ed. If you have a Letter or other content
you want us to consider for publication, please submit it to Skip@GraniteGrok or Steve@GraniteGrok.com.
In a fantastic acrobatic word salad of flips, twists, and circular maneuvering, the language in the bill tricks its readers into believing it provides for something it does not.
In fact, the word “forensic” is carefully omitted eighteen times when modifying anything other than the Election Audit Team.
In order to detangle the misleading language in this law, its reader would require extensive experience in contract language, legal, financial/insurance exams, and comprehensive knowledge of methods used by attorneys (who write the exams) to trick exam-takers.
When you strip away all the jargon pertaining to the “Forensic Election Audit Team” (known in this case to exam-takers as “butterflies”), the law provides for the following:
(1) An audit of the ballot counting machines and their memory cards, and
(2) The hand tabulations of ballots for the purpose of determining the accuracy of the ballot counting devices, the process of hand tallying, and the process of vote tabulation and certification of races.
That’s it. Omitted entirely is the auditing of ballots—forensic or otherwise. The law provides for an examination of the process of hand-tallying and vote tabulation as well as the process of certification.
There is no provision whatsoever for the forensic auditing of the machines, their internal control structures, or for the ballots themselves.
This language is later reinforced by Section II (they erroneously used roman numerals for two different types of subsections. I am not kidding), which describes the minimum capabilities of the “Forensic Audit Team.” (Yet another red-herring designed by its author to insinuate that something more than minimum could be expected.)
Nonetheless, the minimum we can expect is as follows:
(a) All ballots shall be run through all the ballot counting machines used by the town of Windham on November 3, 2020. (That’s a period.)
(b) Determine the total ballots cast, the total ballots counted, and total ballots received from the secretary of State. (That’s another period.)
(c) A hand tallying of all ballots cast in Windham in the Rockingham County district 7 state representative race, the race for governor, and the race for United States senator.
Why do the periods matter? Because they should be commas or at least semi-colons.
In order to truly encapsulate all three items, there should be commas and the word “and.” (Anyone who’s ever learned the RSAs for driving knows that commas should also be accompanied by the critical conjunctions of “and” or “or.”)
Fine. Maybe this was a typo. Then again, maybe it wasn’t.
Fact: The periods were present from the very first draft of the bill. This bill was written by lawyers.
Provision c) extends what we all wanted: that the “forensic” audit would include—not just that the Representative races would be scrutinized—but that the race for Governor and Senator would also be included.
There it is! What we all wanted in black and white…but for those troublesome periods.
Those periods draw attention to a huge contradiction outlined way back in the first paragraph of the law wherein the “Purpose” of the law is established. It is there that the law only provides for “the hand tabulations of ballots regarding the general election on November 3, 2020, in Windham, New Hampshire of Rockingham County “district 7 house of representatives….”
So, which is it?
While the periods in the second mentioning of the races to be audited would throw a wrench into the technical legal language and render the list ambiguous, the “Purpose Clause” is clear, concise, and unambiguous.
That’s right. This law provides for a recount (just as it clearly states in the very first paragraph) and regular audit of the House races only.
Another commonly utilized trick in exam-writing (by lawyers) is the method of burying the facts upfront and over-whelming the nervous test-taker with a plethora of useless information (known again as butterflies) to confuse and lead him/her down a rabbit hole leading to the wrong answer. By the time you get deep into the blackness, you’ve forgotten the simplicity of the question altogether.
Residents of Windham have furthermore been assured that the law grants the chosen Forensic Audit Team the power to determine the audit process. The language stipulating this authority rests in Section 3, roman number I.
Yet again, the authors of the law refer to the Election Audit Team as “forensic” but revert to the use of “audit” when describing the process over which the team controls. It furthermore confines them to determining “as to whether the machine counting devices and memory cards functioned properly, whether the number of ballots tallied by hand in Windham and those tallied by hand by the Secretary of State during the recount on November 12, 2020, were the same as the number of ballots cast.”
And we’ve come full circle…again. (Lawyers love circles because they’re dizzying and best achieve confusion.)
Notice that it’s all about counting. There is no provision for a forensic examination of the memory cards and machines which falls within Harri Hursti’s area of expertise.
There is no provision for the forensic examination of ballots that would enable Jovan Pulitzer to execute his work to the full extent of his expertise.
Conceivably, that is why they refused to choose Pulitzer irrespective of the intense pressure put upon the Board by Windham residents.
Ross Mcleod exclusively and explicitly disregarded the relevance of the ballots when he mocked Windham residents for their fervent support of Pulitzer. (Mcleod…you know…the lawyer.)
It has been argued that the ballots are the key to the entire investigation and that any breach of the chain of custody would invalidate the outcome of a regular audit wherein the ballots are merely fed back into the machines. (Which, again, is what the law merely provides.)
The “chain of custody” issue is one that citizens have already distrusted, given that the state confiscated the ballot boxes long ago.
Is there a single person who noticed that SB43, Section 7 granted the Secretary of State and the Attorney General full “authority to unseal the ballot boxes in order to conduct the audit”?
That authority became effective on April 12, 2021, when the bill became law. It is a power that lacks any meaningful restrictions or specifications in terms of when, how, or where.
The language in the bill is so disturbing one might conclude that our Republican Committee Members are not Republicans at all.
Who wrote this labyrinth of deception?
A simple photograph posted to social media by an unknown Committee Member provides the answer. Of course, it’s the simplest one, buried in the beginning.
The photo of a copy of the unapproved bill in its infancy provides an answer about loyalty to a certain company.
There in the margin, it is written, “Griffin does not want this included.”
Bracketed and stricken was the following language:
To avoid the appearance of impropriety, none of the designees of any of the aforementioned 3 groups shall be:
(a) Connected with LHS Associates or others directly related to the sales or service of the ballot counting devices;
(b) Election officials involved in the general election of November 3, 2020 held in Windham, NH; or
(c) Election officials involved in the recount of the Rockingham County district 7 House of Representatives race on November 12, 2020.
The three designees were previously defined to include people who would have public access to observe the audit. They include:
(1) Designees chosen by the Secretary of State and Attorney General,
(2) Windham designees to be chosen by the Board of Selectmen, and
(3) Members of the public selected by the Secretary of State by some obscure methodology.
You caught that, right? Every single person who will be allowed to observe the audit will be chosen by Ross Mcleod & Company and Bill Gardner.
Back to the language stricken from the bill by “Griffin.”
One can only assume that “Griffin” is,in fact, Chairperson Barbara Griffin and leader of the New Hampshire House Election Law Committee. She is, of course, a lawyer who likely had a strong hand in authoring the bill.
Why would she put ANY of those groups back into the room to observe the audit? In particular, why LHS Associates?
LHS Associates is the vendor that services our machines. They are the company distrusted by voters for their exclusive use of Dominion products. The company and its CEO, Jeff Silvestro, have been vehemently protected and garrisoned by state and local politicians to include Ross Mcleod and Bud Fitch.
That very question led to an investigation with an explosive outcome.
Found on the sos.nh.gov website (they really need to clean that thing up) were the transcribed minutes for the “Meeting of the Select Committee on 2020 Emergency Election Support” held on May 19th, 2020, at 2:00 p.m.
All of the participants were clearly listed to include Representative Barbara J. Griffin; David Scanlan, Deputy Secretary of State; Orville “Bud” Fitch, Legal Counsel to the Secretary of State; Nicholas Chong Yen, Assistant Attorney General; among others.
Except one. There is one person not listed as either “Member” or “Participating” but who piped into the meeting unexpectedly pages deep into the transcribed scroll.
That person was Jeff Silvestro, President of LHS Associates. (AKA Dominion.)
Not only did they omit his participation, but they misspelled his company’s name.
The transcription refers to him as Jeff Silvestro of AHI Associates. His participation in the meeting though covert, was instrumental toward the selection of the ballots used in the 2020 General Election.
AHI is not a keystroke combination indicative of a typo for LHS. (Not even close.) Omitting Jeff Silvestro entirely from the record was impossible, but they sure as hell tried.
Tonight, the Windham Board of Selectmen will choose its designees allowed to observe the audit. Will LHS Associates be one of their designees? Will the Secretary of State invite Jeff Silvestro when he selects his designees?
Transparency is that term New Hampshire citizens have thrown around breathlessly. SB43 is proof of anything but. Period. The End.
Note: Shared Content may not necessarily reflect the views of GraniteGrok.com, its Ad sponsors, Donors, or individual authors.