An audit into the NH state representative race has uncovered discrepancies since the audit was requested back in November of 2020. Harri Hursti, a member of the three-man audit team, disclosed that, while the level of discrepancy in the vote tallies was not enough to alter the result of the state election, nearly every anomalous vote had one very evident thing in common. Folds made on the ballots that were fed into counting machines broke disproportionately to the Democrat candidate, St. Laurent.
The cause of these folds on the ballots in question is unclear. At least 60% of the ballots that did have such a fold were found to be counted incorrectly by the machines. Votes were either, in one of two situations, considered an “overvote” by the machine and subsequently deducted those ballots from the final total, or were wrongly tallied for St. Laurent.
While these results do not suggest fraud, they do raise questions regarding ballot-counting procedure and election integrity. With confidence in electoral processing on the decline in recent years, officials ought to take the apparent failure rate of automated counting, as well as voting machines seriously. Last year’s presidential election was pocked with reports – both corroborated and not – of erroneous and outright anomalous counts. This matters, and it ought to matter much more to the officials whose careers depend on election outcomes as the confidence of their constituents hinges on the smooth, orderly, and timely tallying of ballots without mistakes that can sow distrust in the public eye.
In this specific instance of the New Hampshire audit, these creases were likely the result of bad instructions from staff overseeing the station that day, or were mishandled during the sorting process. Uniformity in procedure, proper training, and accountability for those responsible for conduct that leads to enough inconsistency to warrant an audit are a must if elections are to take place at all.