What Is So Hard About Doing the Right Thing by Our Elections in NH? - Granite Grok

What Is So Hard About Doing the Right Thing by Our Elections in NH?

vote ballot

The Windham Ballot Scandal has provided an excellent opportunity to learn from the 300-vote undercount of four Republican candidates for the NH House of Representatives.

Related: New Hampshire Voters Need to Pay Close Attention

The machine undercount was exposed by a hand recount.

To date, no one has taken responsibility for the scandal, which is why it is a scandal. And will be until 22 months have passed, and the people hiding the documents associated with this scandal will, by federal law, be able to grind everything up.

We have a statute that could shed light on how our NH vote-counting machines are tested. It all comes down to…the NH Secretary of State and the hapless Ballot Law Commission.

“Additionally, the secretary of state may, with the approval of the ballot law commission, use ballots cast in prior elections and may, with the approval of the municipality, use municipal ballots cast in prior elections to conduct such testing.”

Could we take the recent cast ballots in Windham, NH, and maybe run them into the optical scanning devices that created the 300 vote undercounts in that state race? That way, we could see if the machines were specifically set not to count certain races. Or maybe it was “human error.”

In three days, it will be a month since the NH AG’s famous Elections Unit asked Windham officials to turn over the relevant documents.

New Hampshire looks like Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and other states, where election officials do not turn over documents or have destroyed them.

Maybe some enterprising members of our Legislature are interested in this?

Electronic Ballot Counting Devices

Section 656:45

    656:45 Testing of Equipment to Conduct Post-Election Audit of Electronic Ballot Counting Devices. –
I. The secretary of state shall study the use of high-speed, optical/digital scan ballot counting equipment for use in conducting post-election audits of electronic ballot counting devices used in state and federal elections. The secretary of state may purchase, using existing department funds, equipment to conduct testing of the audit procedures. Additionally, the secretary of state may, with the approval of the ballot law commission, use ballots cast in prior elections and may, with the approval of the municipality, used municipal ballots cast in prior elections to conduct such testing.
II. Tested equipment shall meet the United States Election Assistance Commission’s Testing and Certification Program requirements or be eligible for approval by the ballot law commission and shall enable completion of any post-election audit between the day following an election and the day prior to the last day to request a recount.
III. The secretary of state shall complete the study by November 1, 2020, and file a report on his or her findings with the ballot law commission and the appropriate house and senate committees.

Source. 2020, 23:1, eff. July 17, 2020.

Here are the “United States Election Assistance Commission’s Testing and Certification Program” requirements as described by the NCSL National Conference of State Legislatures, mentioned in the statute above,

Overview

“Voting machines have an integral role in ensuring the integrity of elections, and thus of protecting democracy. It’s important that voting machines are doing what they are designed to do: Record citizens’ votes in a secure and accurate way. Voters must be confident their votes are being recorded as cast, that their privacy is being protected, and that the machine is tamper-proof. To provide this level of confidence, voting machines are tested against standards before being used in an election.

Those standards vary from state to state. Some states adopt federal standards, some develop their own standards and others use a hybrid of both approaches. See which states use federal standards and certification below.”

Let us see where New Hampshire stands among the states that use machines to count votes.

“Eight states have no federal testing or certification requirements. Statutes and/or regulations make no mention of any federal agency, certification program, laboratory, or standard; instead, these states have state-specific processes to test and approve equipment (Note that even states that do not require federal certification typically still rely on the federal program to some extent, and use voting systems created by vendors that have been federally certified):

Florida, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Vermont.”

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