The Town of Windham paid LHS Associates in excess of $7,000 for “Ballots” in an invoice dated April 16, 2020. This direct payment brings into question adherence to RSA 656:1.
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656:1 General Responsibility. – Ballots for use in all state elections shall be prepared and delivered by the secretary of state at the expense of the state.
Windham.gov website includes a “Paid Warrant Report,” which clearly itemizes two payments made directly to LHS; one in the amount of $689 and the other for $6,488.14 for a grand one-day total of ($7,177.14) just for ballots!
That’s a pretty hefty bill to pay when it’s the State’s responsibility, according to the law.
One possible explanation for the discrepancy might be found in RSA 658:32 wherein town Moderators are required to submit certificates to the Secretary of State certifying that the ballots were forwarded by the Secretary of State, received, examined, and counted. The ballots are referred to as “Official State General Election Ballots.”
The Moderator’s Certificate specifically excludes “Absentee Ballots” and “ballots used to test electronic ballot counting devices”. Therefore, these are the only subsection of Ballots that could account for the exorbitant payment. (Seems reasonable.)
Another possibility might be that the payment was for the local election of March 2020. In either case, It would seem that elected officials are strapped with conflicts of interest in getting to the bottom of “The Windham Incident.”
In a review of the “Paid Warrant Report,” the payment for Ballots far exceeds all other services provided by LHS to include equipment, equipment maintenance, and office supplies.
This new revelation, as it would square with last night’s Board of Selectmen’s decision to disregard the importance of ballot integrity, further decays confidence in the process.
It’s an odd combination of factors to be sure…especially when the Selectman who discredited the need for ballot integrity and for the word “forensic” (because it insinuates a crime was committed) was a man who himself was previously investigated by the state for witness tampering and electioneering.
Nevertheless, and in spite of the dropped charges against him, he was miraculously reelected by the town of Windham in 2012 by use of the very system of voting he is now investigating.
Stranger than fiction.
[Update: The post has been updated to address other possible reasons for the expense.]
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