One of the election auditors investigating inconsistencies regarding local races in Windham, New Hampshire, said that their review hasn’t found any evidence of “widespread fraud.”
“The original count, the recount, nothing has ever been changing who gets elected,” said Harri Hursti, one member of the three-person team involved in the audit, according to an interview with CNN. “This is an exercise of finding what caused the error, but the four winners have all, from day one, remained to be the same four winners. This has never threatened that. And, again, if there would have been a widespread fraud, which would have been uncovered [in] this, it would have come out. There was none.”
The audit is focused on a local legislative election for several seats. A Democratic candidate, Kristi St. Laurent, requested a recount after losing her race by just 24 votes, which was granted due to the slim margin of her defeat.
Hursti and the other auditors have suggested that folds in ballots may have caused a discrepancy in the vote count. During a hand recount, it was revealed that St. Laurent actually lost by 99 votes, rather than the 24-vote difference tabulated by voting machines n Windham, with GOP candidates—including three other Republican candidates who won legislative seats in the election—receiving 300 additional votes as a result of the recount.
The “school” machine has even more dramatic problem: counted only 28% of the 75 votes for each R candidate in this contest. #NHPolitics pic.twitter.com/rpvVljb7ww
— WindhamNHAuditors (@WAuditors) May 22, 2021
The auditors have speculated that folds in ballots could be to blame for the discrepancies.
“If someone voted for all four Republican candidates and the ballot happened to have its fold line going through St. Laurent’s target, then that might be interpreted by the machines as an overvote, which would then subtract votes from each of those four Republican candidates,” said Philip Stark, another member of the audit team, told WMUR-TV in mid-May. “Conversely, if there were not four votes already in that contest by the voter, a fold line through that target could have caused the machine to interpret it as a vote for St. Laurent.”
Elaborating on the vote totals, the auditors wrote in a May 22 tweet that one machine at a school showed that only 28 percent of 75 votes for each Republican candidate were actually counted.
St. Laurent also noted that that the fold line on the ballot appeared to go through her name the most often.
“Wherever the fold happened to be was, I guess, most commonly through my name,” she told WMUR-TV.
Former President Donald Trump weighed in on the audit efforts.
“The spirit for transparency and justice is being displayed all over the Country by media outlets which do not represent Fake News,” he wrote in a statement on May 6. The former president also praised the audit being conducted in Maricopa County, Arizona, regarding the 2020 presidential election.