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Audit needed to restore confidence in elections, House committee told

By Garry Rayno - InDepthNH | Feb 3, 2022

House Election Law Committee met Wednesday in Representatives Hall at the State House.

CONCORD — A forensic audit of the 2020 election needs to be done to restore faith in the state’s election system, a House committee was told multiple times Wednesday.

The House Election Law Committee heard testimony on three bills seeking audits of the 2020 election, including statewide, of Merrimack County for President, Governor and U.S. Senate, and of recounted races.

A number of those testifying told the committee to either get on board and grant the audit or they would be on the wrong side of history and voted out of office.

“You can either be on the side of tyranny or be on the side of history,” said Terese Grinnell of Loudon. “If you go down the wrong road, you will have to face your maker.”

Grinnell was arrested last fall at an Executive Council meeting where she opposed accepting federal Centers for Disease Control money to boost the state’s vaccination programs.

Wednesday she told members of the committee they did not care about voter integrity or fixing the problem, they only cared about money and politics.

“If you are a RINO (Republican in Name Only) and part of the establishment and not the people,” Grinnell said, “you’re not going to be in politics long. It’s a new day and we have your name on this list.”

House Election Law Committee Chair Barbara Griffin, R-Goffstown, had to interrupt her to tell her to address the bill, House Bill 1484, requiring a statewide audit.

Others claimed state elections officials have known for some time there are problems with the state’s election system with voting rolls out of date, voting machines not secured and easily hacked, state and federal laws broken, no checks and balances, and too many abnormalities across the state.

Many said the election was rigged and several claimed it was stolen, noting Republicans flipped the State House but Democrats dominated the national races, echoing former President Donald Trump.

Brenda Towne of Stratham said she is part of a very large group of people concerned about the integrity of the 2020 election.

She supported the audit of Merrimack County for the three statewide positions and said it should be done in a very prescribed way.

She said they all learned a lot with the audit of Windham where miscounts were attributed to improper folds in the ballot.

“What happened made us all think we should look into this,” Towne said. “We have never conducted an audit of an election.”

She noted the great increase in the use of absentee ballots in 2020, as well as the greater increases in the percentage of voters in several counties compared to past elections and particularly for one party.

“Something does not make sense,” she said, “so we focused on the data and details.”

The 2020 election set a record for turnout and officials credit the one-time change in election laws to make it easier to vote absentee during the pandemic for the greater number of absentee ballots enhancing the large turnout.

She, like others, was critical of local election officials for sending the memory cards to the company that maintains the state’s voting machines, LHS Associates, for reprogramming which would remove any “hack.”

The law says that information should be maintained for 22 months, she said.

Towne said her group canvassed towns to determine if the people living at addresses voted as indicated but found that some listings had more people voting at that address than lived there.

She said 13 to 14 percent of the votes were cast by people not living at their stated addresses and sent that information to the Attorney General’s Office.

“We audit banks,” Towne said, “we should be auditing these ballots.”

When asked by a committee member how many towns were canvassed, she said two, Waterville Valley and Rye.

Secretary of State David Scanlan defended the state’s election system saying the great thing about it is it is decentralized with local officials conducting it.

“There are individual failures like we have seen in Windham and Bedford, but the system did not fail,” Scanlan said. “Mistakes are made, and when they are, they are held accountable.”

Because the system is decentralized with local volunteers, he said, they would know if something is going on, noting it is not some type of conspiracy.

Scanlan said his office could do a better job with transparency and training, and a better job of communicating with the public and voters about the checks and balances in place to ensure elections are accurate.

“I can only express my faith in our election process,” Scanlan said, noting he had not heard any evidence that shows there was something wrong on a larger scale.

And he said doing an audit now would be very difficult as his office is gearing up for the 2022 election cycle.

However, many of the people testifying said they have lost confidence in the election process.

Christopher Bean, a retired civil engineer from Concord, said he has always taken his responsibility to vote seriously, and until the November 2020 election, always had confidence New Hampshire elections were accurate.

Based on the work of the NH Voter Integrity Group, his own research, the errors and fraud in other states, and the fact that two-thirds of New Hampshire’s voting machines are Dominion, he said he is now concerned about New Hampshire.

“We want a forensic audit to prove our votes counted,” Bean told the committee.

Marylyn Todd of Nashua, the founder of the NH Voter Integrity Group, said there is evidence there are problems with the last three elections and memory cards.

“It’s all going to be exposed, no one of us is going to stop before this is done.” Todd told the committee: “We have a full team coming to New Hampshire to do a documentary. It just gets bigger and bigger. You can either join us or you guys will be voted out.”

She accused Scanlan of lying and told the committee they have two options: get rid of the voting machines or do the forensic audit.

“Give us back our state,” Todd said, “and give us back our sanity.”

James Wood of Merrimack recently retired and said he had time to watch the hearings all around the country on the election.

He said the mainstream media did not cover the hearings, but they were posted on YouTube, but disappeared the next day.

“Why do you do that if you’re not trying to hide something,” Wood said. “We realize something is wrong across this country, we can’t put our finger on it, but we know it’s there.”

The committee did not make immediate recommendations on the bills.

Garry Rayno may be reached at garry.rayno@yahoo.com.


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