New Hampshire Senate bill requiring election audits passes the House | Amanda Gokee/The Boston Globe

The New Hampshire House of Representatives has passed Senate Bill 157, which would require election audits to be conducted after every state and federal election in the state. The bill requires the Secretary of State to randomly select eight towns or city wards to audit per election, and expands the scope of the audit to include all voting devices and not just AccuVote devices. The audits would be open to the public, and aim to verify the accuracy and performance of voting equipment and vote counting machines. The bill was passed unanimously with no debate.Read Article

New Hampshire panel combines voting machine grants with election portal | Kevin Landrigan/The New Hampshire Union Leader

A proposal to permit cities and towns to ask for federal money to replace their antiquated voting machines moved a step closer to reality this week. The plan would permit local officials to apply to Secretary of State David Scanlan’s office to get grants from $12.8 million in federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) money the state has gotten over the past two decades to make voting system improvements. Last week, House Election Laws Committee Chairman Ross Berry, R-Manchester, proposed tacking this proposal onto a Senate-passed bill (SB 70) that would create a state information portal to allow citizens to register online to vote more easily, to update their voter information or to request absentee ballots. The House panel voted 13-5 in support of that measure, which now goes to the full House of Representatives. The state Senate had earlier killed separate legislation (SB 73) to permit the use of HAVA money for voting machines while Berry’s House committee had decided to retain its own legislation on the topic (HB 447) until early in 2024.

Full Article: Panel combines voting machine grants with election portal

New Hampshire: New House GOP proposal for voting machines emerges | Kevin Landrigan/The New Hampshire Union Leader

Cities and towns could qualify to use some of the $12 million federal Help America Vote Act grant surplus to replace aging voting machines under a move a House Republican leader is backing — reviving a proposal supported by leading House and Senate Democrats. House Election Laws Committee Chairman Ross Berry, R-Merrimack, proposed Tuesday to graft this proposal onto a Senate-passed bill (SB 70) to create a voter information portal that would permit citizens online to more easily register to vote, update their information or request absentee ballots. The state Senate earlier killed separate legislation (SB 73) to permit the use of Help America Vote Act (HAVA) money for voting machines while Berry’s House committee decided to retain its own legislation on the topic (HB 447) until early in 2024. Berry said he was hoping his gambit could permit both these ideas to become a reality. “We know our colleagues on the other side of the wall really love the portal,” Berry said. “Let’s marry the two and have our cake and eat it too; that’s what the bill does.” Senate Election Laws and Municipal Affairs Committee Chairman James Gray, R-Rochester, said the Senate remains dead-set against using HAVA grants so communities could replace their AccuVote machines, the only technology allowed for cities and towns that don’t have paper balloting.

Full Article: New House GOP proposal for voting machines emerges

New Hampshire towns to vote on banning voting machines | Angelina Berube/Eagle Tribune

Residents in Pelham, Salem and Sandown will consider in March if their towns should exclusively hand count ballots in future elections. The issue is presented as a citizen’s petition in each community. The petitions look to stop and prohibit the future use of electronic ballot counting devices in town and school elections, instead requiring a hand count. The three select boards did not recommend the warrant articles. This isn’t the first time Salem or Sandown has heard from citizens looking to change the longstanding voting method. The subject was on Salem’s warrant in March 2022 — rejected 1,564-2,130 — and submitted by Jaime Thornock, who is now petitioning it again. She said there’s a lack of reliability and trust surrounding electronic machines. Requiring hand counts would create transparency, she said, on real numbers from election night. Rep. Joe Sweeney said Salem must trust election officials. He stressed the burden of hand-counting on poll workers, since they are obligated get ballots counted in a single sitting.

Full Article: NH towns to vote on banning voting machines | New Hampshire |

New Hampshire Senate Weighs Permanent Voting Machine Audits | Eagle Times

During the 2022 elections, the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office audited voting machines in six different polling places, checking for accuracy and consistency as part of a one-time requirement by the Legislature.  Now, Senate lawmakers are hoping to make the auditing permanent. Senate Bill 157 would require the office to audit at least two AccuVote machines on Election Day during state primaries and up to eight machines during the general election. The audits would need to be conducted at specific towns and city wards across the state, selected at random, the bill states. They would be carried out in public by people appointed and trained by the secretary of state. For each machine, at least 5 percent of the ballots scanned must be examined, the bill adds. The choices on the ballots must be compared to the results recorded in the machines, and any differences must be documented.

Full Article: ‘Never Been More Important’: NH Senate Weighs Permanent Voting Machine Audits | |

New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission moves forward with assessing new counting machines | Jeongyoon Han/New Hampshire Public Radio

New Hampshire’s Ballot Law Commission is continuing to test out different ballot counting machines as it seeks to replace the state’s aging ones. The commission, which sets the criteria and has the final say for certifying ballot counting machines in the state, met on Wednesday to assess several companies’ ballot counting machines. Here’s what happened. The commission met with representatives from a company called Clear Ballot Group, which wants to have their ballot counting machines approved so that towns in New Hampshire could use them for elections. The state uses those machines when conducting its routine election audits. James Rundlett, national sales manager at the company, showed the commission how the ballot machine works. “We believe this is the future of elections,” Rundlett said. Clear Ballot Group’s ballot devices are being used in various parts of the country, including in parts of the Pacific Northwest, Kansas, Seattle, and Ohio.

Full Article: NH Ballot Law Commission moves forward with assessing new counting machines | New Hampshire Public Radio

New Hampshire audit of open-source voting machine gives thumbs-up, mostly | David Brooks/Concord Monitor

The open-source software worked well but the hardware had a few issues. That’s the conclusion from audits of a new ballot-counting machine that was tested in three New Hampshire towns during the November election. The device, developed by a nonprofit called VotingWorks, is being considered as a possible replacement for the state’s aging AccuVote machines. The key point of the VotingWorks device is that it uses the open-source Linux operating system rather than software controlled by a private company. Its backers say this openness provides a level of transparency that can help defuse conspiracy theories about fair elections. Any decision about changing the devices that towns and cities can use for elections will be made by the Ballot Law Commission, a 10-person body whose members are appointed by the Legislature and the governor. There is no timeline for replacing the AccuVote machines. The VotingWorks machines were used in the Nov. 8, 2022, election in Ashland, Newington and Woodstock, three of the smallest towns in the state that count ballots with the AccuVote machines. The VotingWorks devices digitally scanned and tallied results from the state’s standard paper ballots. The results were later double-checked with a hand-count audit by the Secretary of State’s office.

Full Article: State audit of open-source voting machine gives thumbs-up, mostly

New Hampshire Vote Tabulation Machine Failed in November Pilot | Kevin Landrigan/The New Hampshire Union Leader

New ballot-counting devices tested in the Nov. 8 election broke down in one of the three small towns chosen for the pilot, Secretary of State David Scanlan said Monday. The machine was made by VotingWorks. It used open-source software rather than company-supplied software, which some advocates have said would improve voter confidence because its operations were more transparent to the public. Since the mid-1990s, the Ballot Law Commission has only allowed the AccuVote ballot counting device to be used in all cities and towns that don’t count ballots by hand. The manufacturer no longer makes replacement parts for this machine, forcing some New Hampshire cities and towns to purchase machines from communities in other states that upgraded their technology.

Full Article: New Hampshire Vote Tabulation Machine Failed in November Pilot

What New Hampshire Can Tell Us About Restoring Faith in Elections | Farah Stockman/The New York Times

Brad Winslow is a genial 67-year-old who hugs people he just met. But when it comes to elections, his trust evaporates. A self-described computer geek who has spent much of his career programming machines, Mr. Winslow has long suspected that vote-counting tabulators could be rigged to advantage one politician over another. “I have zero faith in the voting process,” he told me. Mr. Winslow has felt this way for decades, long before the Big Lie. But an error in the vote count in the 2020 election in Windham, the town where he lived, deepened his doubt. He joined a citizens group that searches for evidence of fraud and says he purchased an AccuVote vote-counting machine on eBay — the same ancient model that New Hampshire still uses — to see if he could prove his suspicions. It’s tempting to dismiss him as a conspiracy theorist. Plenty of people do. One voting rights activist in New Hampshire warned me: “Those people can’t be placated.” But the line between a fanatic and a dogged citizen investigator can be difficult to parse. Mr. Winslow has spent countless hours researching the mechanics of elections. Wasn’t that a good thing? Doesn’t democracy depend on citizens who ask questions and demand answers? I decided to listen to him, to see if there was anything that could restore his faith — or shake my own. Eventually, I came to see that rather than dismissing skeptical voters like him, we might better see how they force us to stay vigilant about our elections. Long before Donald Trump hijacked the rhetoric of election security, experts warned that America’s decentralized elections are at risk from human error, software bugs and hackers.

Full Article: Opinion | What New Hampshire Can Tell Us About Restoring Faith in Elections – The New York Times

New Hampshire: ‘Election Day’-Ja Vu: Windham Ballot Problems Discovered | Damien Fisher/NH Journal

On the eve of the primary election came reports out of Windham that ballots are being folded with the crease going through the voting oval, apparently repeating the same errors that led to an extensive audit of the town’s ballot system after the 2020 election. According to reports, absentee ballots sent to Windham voters ahead of Tuesday’s primary have been folded twice, with the creases going through the ovals. The same improper folds on absentee ballots in 2020 resulted in anomalous results and new state oversight of the vote. Windham Town Clerk Nicole Merrill could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Town Hall staff said she was away at Windham High School setting up for the election. Both Anna Fay with the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office, and Michael Garrity with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office said state election monitors will be on hand Tuesday to make sure the election goes off smoothly “There will be an election monitor at the Windham polling place tomorrow. If there are any problems with improper folds or other issues, they will act accordingly,” Fay said. Windham is one of three communities that will have state monitors in place to oversee the primary election due to multiple errors found in the 2020 voting process. Windham, Bedford and Ward 6 in Laconia will all have election monitors in place In Windham, the audit found the vote total discrepancy was due to the improper folds. The folds in the paper ballots made it difficult for optical scan vote counters, AccuVote machines, to record the votes properly.

Full Article: ‘Election Day’-Ja Vu: Windham Ballot Problems Discovered – NH Journal

New Hampshire: As election distrust swirls, three communities were under a microscope during the primary | Mara Hoplamazian/New Hampshire Public Radio

Even after polls closed Tuesday evening in Windham, a small group of voters and candidates stuck around in the high school gym. As ballot counting machines softly hummed in the background, some began recording with their phone cameras, leaning over a line of red tape, looking for mistakes. Windham was one of three communities — along with Bedford and Laconia’s Ward 6 — under a microscope during Tuesday’s primary. Each was subject to extra oversight from state-appointed election monitors due to what the Attorney General described as serious, but unintentional, mistakes in ballot handling during the November 2020 election. While rare, the appointment of an election monitor is not entirely unprecedented in recent election cycles. But the added scrutiny comes at a time when election officials across the state and country are feeling mounting pressure and diminishing public trust. Secretary of State David Scanlan said having three election monitors in one season is especially unusual. But he said the unique circumstances of voting during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the challenges that led to the appointment of the state election monitors. “The issues that resulted in requiring a monitor being assigned to the polling place, at least in two of the polling places, were a direct result of the high volume of absentee ballots that were observed in 2020,” Scanlan said. “Of course, because of the pandemic, there were a lot more voters using absentee ballots than showing up at the polling place.”

Full Article: Election monitors watch over Windham, Laconia, Bedford | New Hampshire Public Radio

New Hampshire: Lawsuit seeks to block electronic voting machines | Kein Landrigan/Union Leader

A conservative constitutional lawyer has sued Gov. Chris Sununu and legislative leaders, asserting the state has no authority to use electronic ballot-counting machines at polling places. Daniel Richard of Auburn also sued his hometown and Town Administrator Daniel Goonan for refusing to let him cast a vote by paper ballot and have it hand-counted. In a motion filed Wednesday, Richard asked a Rockingham County Superior Court judge to issue an injunction to stop towns from using the machines for the Sept. 13 primary. He asked to be allowed to make an in-court argument on the topic before voters go to the polls. A Rockingham County Superior Court judge has agreed to hear arguments on Richard’s suit Sept. 9, four days before the primary. “Voting in New Hampshire is non-validated and not in accordance with any known electrical and electronic safety standards — by design, in order to maintain the country’s “first-in-the-nation” vote status,” Richard wrote in his latest filing.

Full Article: Lawsuit seeks to block electronic voting machines in N.H. | Voters First |

New Hampshire: More post-election audits might raise voter confidence, committee is told | David Brooks/Concord Monitor

When the committee looking for ways to raise voter confidence came to Concord in front of a standing-room-only crowd, one idea stood out during hours of discussion: Post-election audits. “In a lot of other states, where they do more with random audits, the temperature is a little bit less hot,” said Jeff Silvestro, president of LHS Associates, the company that makes and services the aging machines used to count New Hampshire’s ballots, as well as ballots in numerous other states and localities. “There’s disagreement … but not to the extent we’ve had here.” Others agreed. “Official audits help increase confidence among voters who have lost confidence,” said Russell Muirhead, a Democratic state representative from Hanover and Dartmouth College professor of government, who discussed election-related research. Even David Kiley of Atkinson, one of several speakers who expressed skepticism about the security of ballot-counting machines or even the need for them, supported the idea of double-checking voting tallies at randomly selected polling places. Kiley also urged the committee to make it easier for ordinary people to request them: “We need some way to allow citizens to make a challenge” without having to go through the legislature, he said.

Full Article: More post-election audits might raise voter confidence, committee is told

New Hampshire is preserving the ballot design that made secret elections possible | David Brooks/Concord Monitor

Up to about 140 years ago, anyone who wanted to cast a vote in a state or federal election in New Hampshire had to get a ballot from the political party of their choice — whether Republican or Democrat or some group that has long since faded away, such as the Prohibition Party. This meant that bystanders at the polling place knew which candidate voters were choosing, because every party’s “ticket,” as they were known, looked different. This made it possible for outsiders to threaten or bribe voters — hard cider was a common reward — and ensure the result they wanted. Political parties made extensive use of this ability. “There was real corruption in elections,” said Brian Burford, New Hampshire state archivist. “It got very bad. The reform movement in 1880s said we’ve got to do something about this — we’re going to have the state-run (elections) and have some way to have some secret ballots.” Secrecy was ensured by what is known as the Australian ballot, so called because it was first used in that country in 1856. Its design, still used today, puts all political parties on a single ballot. Bystanders couldn’t tell how anyone voted so they had less of an incentive to use bribes or threats.

Full Article: NH is preserving the ballot design that made secret elections possible | State news |

New Hampshire Vote Counting Law Will Divert Ballots With Overvotes | Kevin Landrigan/The New Hampshire Union Leader

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed into law a pivotal ballot-counting reform Tuesday, June 7, that grew out of the post-election ballot mess from the 2020 election in Windham. The bipartisan measure will, for the first time, require vendors to program vote-counting machines to divert into a side compartment any ballot that appears to have too many marks on it for a single office. The bill’s prime sponsor, Hillsborough Democratic state Rep. Marjorie Porter, said the change should prevent a repeat of the chaos in Windham. If this had been in place before the 2020 election, it would have immediately flagged the absentee ballots that were incorrectly read by Windham’s automated voting machines on Election Day because of folds through one of the candidates’ names. After a hand recount, all four Republican candidates for state representative in Windham picked up nearly 300 votes apiece. The leading Democratic candidate lost nearly 100 votes after the recounts. A never-before-used folding machine was deployed in Windham to cope with the high number of absentee ballots.

Full Article: Latest New Hampshire Vote Counting Law Will Remove Overvotes

New Hampshire: Effort to eliminate ballot-counting machines snags | Casey McDermott/Concord Monitor

A newly animated movement to eliminate ballot-counting machines in New Hampshire ran stalled out this week at the State House and in town elections, where the issue was on the ballot in about a dozen communities. On Wednesday, the House Election Law Committee unanimously voted against a bill that would have required all future elections in New Hampshire to be hand-counted. And the day before, voters across the state rejected similar mandates at the local level. Cities and towns can choose whether to count ballots by hand or by machine. Most opt to use the AccuVote, the only machine currently approved for use in New Hampshire, and hand-counting is largely limited to towns with 2,000 voters or less. Local activists and some Republican state lawmakers, spurred by mistrust in the outcome of the 2020 election, have been pushing to hand count all of New Hampshire’s future elections. In addition to rallying behind a bill to ban machines statewide, they also organized petition drives to put the issue before voters in a handful of communities this spring. House Election Law Committee Chairwoman Barbara Griffin, a Republican from Goffstown, said members of the panel waited to finalize their opinion on the statewide ban on vote-counting machines until voters had a chance to weigh in on the issue in Tuesday’s town elections. “There is no town that voted yesterday that supported the elimination of the counting devices that are currently used,” Griffin said. “So I think that to require this for every community in the state would not be appropriate.”

Full Article: Effort to eliminate ballot-counting machines snags

New Hampshire voters will weigh in on AccuVote ballot machines | Todd Bookman/NPR

Voters in the town of Milton, N.H., will this week be asked to weigh in on more than 30 different local issues, things like the school budget, the next fire chief and even the type of lightbulbs used in streetlamps. But another item on Milton’s town meeting ballot could reshape the town’s election process itself: Residents will decide whether election officials should continue using a ballot counting machine, known as the AccuVote, or revert to a hand count. Milton is one of more than a dozen New Hampshire communities voting on vote-counting this town meeting season, after activists who question the accuracy and security of the state’s ballot counting machines launched a campaign to ditch them. The activists behind the push to hand-count all ballots contend, without proof, that the machines can be hacked or rigged, and their effort follows baseless claims of widespread issues with the 2020 election. State and local election officials say the AccuVote — the only approved ballot counting machine in New Hampshire — has proven itself reliable at the polls and in an exhaustive outside audit held last spring.

Full Article: New Hampshire voters will weigh in on AccuVote ballot machines : NPR

New Hampshire bill to reprogram automated voting machines has support from election officials | Kevin Landrigan/The New Hampshire Union Leade

The state’s top election official and town clerks have endorsed a bipartisan bill to reprogram automated voting machines to detect ballots that have votes for too many candidates for a single office. Currently, if the machine detects an “overvote” it doesn’t count the votes for anyone for that race, though it does process the rest of the ballot. This change, if it had been made before the 2020 election, would have immediately flagged the absentee ballots that were incorrectly read by Windham voting machines on Election Day because of folds through one of the candidates’ names, said state Rep. Marjorie Porter, D-Hillsborough, the chief architect of the reform measure. Porter said the post-2020 election summary tapes of votes from other towns she and others have seen led her to believe many more votes were invalidated as the machines wrongly read them as overvotes. “This leads me to believe the shadow issue found in Windham may have been more widespread than we know,” Porter told the House Election Laws Committee Wednesday. The amended bill Porter presented would require that these machines kick out any ballot that appears to have votes for too many candidates for a single office. “Our machines can be programmed at no additional cost to reject the ballot, much like that change machine returns the crinkled dollar you try to put in at the laundromat,” Porter said. This ballot would then be placed in an “auxiliary bin” to be hand-counted by local election officials after the polls have closed.

Full Article: A bill to reprogram automated voting machines has support from election officials

New Hampshire audit bill attracts charges, threats and conspiracies | Kevin Landrigan/The New Hampshire Union Leader

The legislative campaign for a forensic audit of the 2020 election in New Hampshire elicited wild charges, threats and conspiracy theories during a public hearing Wednesday. State Rep. Timothy Baxter, R-Seabrook, said he proposed that this audit (HB 1484) be paid for with donations or private nonprofit grants to rebut critics who said the cost to taxpayers would be too high. “Let me be clear: A majority of this state thinks either the 2016 or the 2020 election was stolen. Every voter in this country deserves nothing less than that and this would allow every person to know the truth,” said Baxter, a Republican candidate for a U.S. House seat in the 1st Congressional District. An independent third party would conduct the audit, which supporters acknowledge would have to be a hand recount. That’s because many of the memory cards inside automated voting machines used to record and count votes in 2020 were reprogrammed to report results of town or city elections last year.

Full Article: Voter audit bill attracts charges, threats and conspiracies

New Hampshire considers bills to audit 2020 election results | Holly Ramer/Associated Press

The 2022 campaign cycle is well underway in New Hampshire, but some voters are still pushing for reviews of the last election. Secretary of State David Scanlan on Wednesday defended the integrity of the state’s election procedures after angry activists demanded full or partial audits of the 2020 election. He said New Hampshire’s strength lies in its decentralized elections system, though he acknowledged the need to increase both training for local officials and transparency. “The system is not perfect. There are mistakes that are made, and when they are, people are held accountable,” he told the House Election Law Committee. “But that failure at an individual level does not translate into some type of major conspiracy or collusion to do something different with the actual election results. I have complete confidence in the way New Hampshire runs its elections.” Scanlan, who was promoted this month after the retirement of longtime Secretary of State Bill Gardner, spoke at a public hearing on a bill that would require a statewide audit of the 2020 election. The committee also heard testimony on a similar bill that would require an audit of Merrimack County results. Rep. Tim Baxter, R-Seabrook, sponsor of the statewide audit bill, asserted that a majority of the state believes either the 2016 or 2020 elections were stolen. According to a UNH Survey Center poll, however, nearly two-thirds of New Hampshire voters believe Joe Biden won the last presidential election.

Full Article: ‘Give us back our state and give us back our sanity’ – NH considers bills to audit 2020 election results

New Hampshire: Spurred by election misinformation and skepticism, crowd urges lawmakers to outlaw ballot-counting machines | Casey McDermott/New Hampshire Public Radio

An effort to outlaw ballot-counting machines in New Hampshire elections drew dozens of supporters to the State House for a public hearing on Thursday, but the same proposal drew hesitation from election officials who said it was neither necessary nor practical. Those urging lawmakers to get rid of the state’s voting machines expressed deep skepticism about New Hampshire’s election systems and state institutions at large. Many said their doubts were reinforced by errors in the town of Windham’s 2020 machine count that were quickly corrected and later thoroughly investigated. At the same time, many also cited distorted statistics and other falsehoods to justify their claims that voting machines can’t be trusted to produce accurate results. For decades, only one model of vote-counting machine has been approved for use in New Hampshire elections. That device, the AccuVote OS, doesn’t connect to the internet and “predates modern network technologies,” according to an overview compiled by an outside expert. And right now, the state doesn’t mandate that cities or towns use any machines — it’s up to individual communities to decide. “The machines we use are the most basic of devices,” said Milford Town Clerk Joan Dargie, testifying on behalf of the New Hampshire City and Town Clerks Association. “They are only reading the marks on the ballot.” Dargie said forcing communities to go back to hand-counting would add too much extra labor for local poll workers who are already putting in 16 to 17 hours of work on Election Day. With machines in use, Dargie said her town, Milford, usually has about 200 volunteers working at the polls, and recruiting those volunteers is a persistent challenge for many communities; if they had to hand count, she estimates they’d need to find an additional 150 people.

Full Article: Crowd urges N.H. lawmakers to outlaw ballot-counting machines | New Hampshire Public Radio

New Hampshire: Rochester latest community to see effort to remove vote-counting machines | Karen Dandurant/Fosters Daily Democrat

City officials received a petition to place a warrant article intended to eliminate the use of vote-counting machines in elections and to return to hand counts. However, City Manager Blaine Cox said the petition has no basis in law for the city. Cox said this is because Rochester does not use the town meeting form of government. It appears the proposal submitted in Rochester is similar to those submitted in some towns around the state, including Greenland, where the town’s voters overwhelmingly rejected the bid to eliminate voting machines. “The request to insert by petition a warrant article does not pertain to Rochester’s city form of government,” Cox said. However, state Sen. Jim Gray, R-Rochester, who is also a city councilor, said there is a way the question could be brought forward. He said Mayor Paul Callaghan could place the question on a city council agenda for a vote.

Full Article: Rochester NH community petitions to eliminate vote-counting machines

New Hampshire’s longtime guardian of its early presidential primary is stepping down | NPR

New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner, who earned a national reputation as gatekeeper of the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, announced Monday that he will retire in the coming days. Gardner has held the office since December 1976, when he was elected at the age of 28. He’s the longest-serving secretary of state in the nation. As the state’s chief election official, Gardner is responsible for enforcing laws and regulations around voting in New Hampshire. But it’s as chief defender of the state’s presidential primary that Gardner has earned his loudest praise — and criticism. At a press conference in his cramped State House office Monday, Gardner waved away a suggestion that he was stepping down for health reasons. He said Dave Scanlan, his current deputy, will serve as the interim secretary of state. “I know the office which I leave will be in good hands,” Gardner said.

Full Article: New Hampshire’s longtime guardian of its early presidential primary is stepping down : NPR

New Hampshire town rejects bid to ban use of voting machines | Associated Press

A New Hampshire town has resoundingly rejected a proposal to ban the use of voting machines and return to counting ballots by hand. Voters in the town of Greenland on Saturday defeated a citizen petition that would have stopped the use of voting machines in all local, state and federal elections. reports the vote was 1,077 against to 120 in favor of the proposal. Town Clerk Marge Morgan told the news outlet that turnout was higher than expected and officials had to print more ballots. Greenland has a little over 4,000 residents, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. Similar attempts to ban voting machines are under way in Hampton and Kensington, and a bill calling for a statewide ban was filed in the Legislature.

Full Article: New Hampshire town rejects bid to ban use of voting machines

New Hampshire State Commission approves standards for new voting machines | Kevin Landrigan/New Hampshire Union Leader

The state Ballot Law Commission on Tuesday approved standards that would one day permit a different automated voting machine than the one used in most New Hampshire cities and towns for decades. In the interim, the commission voted unanimously to let the town of Milford test one of the new devices during municipal and school board elections in the spring. As part of the pilot program, Milford will have to conduct a hand recount of all ballots counted with the new machine and report to the commission on its accuracy. ‘This would allow a test of this device, let Milford use it in an election that isn’t as complicated,” said Chairman Bradford Cook. The commission decided to take up the issue of new voting machines only after the Milford Board of Selectmen voted last September to seek permission to use a different device. Milford Town Moderator Pete Basiliere and Town Clerk Joan Dargie told the commission it was an ideal time for the town to try new technology. “While the AccuVote machines are highly accurate, we are concerned about the long-term availability of parts and programming,” they wrote. “With the commission’s approval, we will have four elections before the 2024 Presidential Primary to work with the new tabulators.” In 2022, Milford will be using an ImageCast machine — made by Dominion Voting Systems of Denver — which is sold, serviced and maintained by LHS Associates of Salem.

Full Article: State Commission approves standards for new voting machines

New Hampshire: Fraud narrative drives attempts to change election law | Rick Green/Concord Monitor

Major changes would be required in the way New Hampshire conducts elections under bills proposed by Republican state legislators, many of whom have questioned the integrity of the last statewide vote. Perhaps the biggest change would come under House Bill 1064, sponsored by Rep. Mark Alliegro, R-Campton, which would require every ballot to be counted by hand. A total of 814,000 votes were cast in last year’s election, and 80 percent of the ballots were tallied by optical scan machines. About one-third of the state’s municipalities count by hand. Other legislative proposals seek to strengthen enforcement of election law, alter existing residency requirements, change the voter ID process and seek election audits. Optical scan devices have been used by many states for decades and are judged reliable by the secretary of state’s office. In instances where voting machines are used, a voter marks the ballot and inserts it into the scanner. The paper ballot is retained in case of a recount. No widespread problems have been reported with these devices, but Alliegro said the electronic vote count was off by several percentage points in some towns. He declined to provide specifics. Ten New Hampshire legislators, all Republicans, are sponsoring the bill, which would prohibit the use of computers, scanners, or other electronic devices to count and tally ballots. No estimate has been made on how much more it would cost to count all votes by hand.

Full Article: Fraud narrative drives attempts to change NH election law

New Hampshire: Hampton selectman joins effort to remove voting machines | Patrick Cronin/Portsmouth Herald

Petitions are circulating to get rid of all electronic voting tabulation machines in Hampton and in other cities and towns in New Hampshire. Those pushing the petitions say their goal is to ensure “integrity” in future elections. Selectman Regina Barnes is behind the Hampton effort, saying it is being done in conjunction with the nonprofit political citizen group Marigold Coffee Club as part of its “Remove the Machines” campaign. “This is actually a statewide effort,” said Barnes, who is a team leader for the group in Hampton. “Marigold Coffee Club is doing it and in Hampton we are also doing a warrant article for Town Meeting.” Barnes went before the town’s Board of Selectmen last week requesting they call for a special Town Meeting to ask voters if they want to return to hand-counting paper ballots for all town, state and federal elections. The board voted 4-1 Monday against it citing they needed more information. Selectmen Chairman Rusty Bridle noted a citizen requested special Town Meeting would require a petition signed by 5% of registered voters while a regular March Town Meeting petition would require 25 resident signatures for a question to be placed on the ballot.

Full Article: Hampton selectman joins effort to remove NH voting machines

New Hampshire showed how to audit an election properly | Sarah Salem/The Washington Post

Pennsylvania is barreling toward a hyperpartisan, divisive election audit, not unlike the one in Maricopa County, Ariz. But there’s a way to carry out an ethical audit, election experts say. Just look at how New Hampshire did it. Verified election experts, a transparent process and bipartisan support marked a recent audit conducted in New Hampshire after a discrepancy in a state legislative race. That audit serves as an example of a bipartisan, “ethical” audit, antithetical to the one carried out in Maricopa County, said David Levine, an advisory committee member for the Global Cyber Alliance’s Cybersecurity Toolkit for Elections. “[New Hampshire] brought in some genuine election experts who understood election security and integrity, and then they conducted a very transparent bipartisan process that was spurred on by bipartisan-supported election legislation,” Levine said. One of those experts who conducted the New Hampshire audit was Philip Stark. Stark calls the Maricopa County audit a “fishing expedition,” in contrast to New Hampshire’s “forensic audit” that engendered widespread public confidence in the process. “The New Hampshire audit was a forensic audit in the sense that there was a known problem,” he said. “That’s not what happened in Maricopa. There was no evidence that anything was wrong.” 


Full Article: New Hampshire showed how to audit an election properly – The Washington Post

New Hampshire Attorney General and Secretary of State Offer Mixed Response to Windham Auditors’ Proposed Election Reforms | Casey McDermott/New Hampshire Public Radio

The team running the closely-watched audit of election irregularities in Windham’s 2020 state representative race put forward a series of proposed reforms to help avoid the same problems in future elections. But the New Hampshire Attorney General and Secretary of State aren’t on board with all of those changes. Top state election officials say some of the auditors’ suggestions would be too burdensome to implement and others might violate voters’ privacy. They outlined their responses to the audit in this report. One major disagreement revolves around flagging ballots that can’t be properly read by the machines. New Hampshire doesn’t have a system to let voters know if their ballot appears to have too many marks on it when it’s fed into a ballot counting machine at the polls on Election Day. Auditors say enabling this kind of “overvote notification” wouldn’t have prevented the issues in Windham, but it would have identified the problem much sooner. Through their investigation, auditors determined that Windham’s ballot counting devices miscalculated the vote totals in its state representative race by misinterpreting creases in folded absentee ballots as valid votes.

Full Article: N.H. Attorney General and Secretary of State Offer Mixed Response to Windham Auditors’ Proposed Election Reforms | New Hampshire Public Radio

New Hampshire: Windham emails provide window into election distrust | Michaela Towfighi/Concord Monitor

In a small white building, with green shutters to match the door, six binders with thousands of emails tell a story of outrage and distrust in an election system. The aftermath of a recount, forensic audit and sheer uproar over the November election still ring through this southern New Hampshire town as the state continues to release reports on how Windham got its election results wrong. The State of New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission released a final report last week on how three Republican candidates, who won the election, were shortchanged about 300 votes apiece. “The commission finds that the discrepancies in Windham in November, 2020 were the result of a unique set of circumstances, not the result of malfunctioning of the ballot counting devices, and are not likely to reoccur,” the report reads. The commission reaffirmed the results of the recount and offered an explanation for why Democrats were initially given more votes than deserved. Folds in the ballots interfered with the scanner’s ability to correctly read the ballots. The machines often misread the fold as a vote for a Democrat, but in some cases that meant a vote for four candidates vying for three State Representative seats, which invalided the ballot. Hand counting revealed the true totals, according to the commission. “The commission finds that the presently authorized AccuVote machines are capable of continuing to meet the requirements for elections held in New Hampshire,” the report concludes. Still, separating fact from fiction regarding the November election continues to be a point of debate.

Full Article: Windham emails provide window into election distrust