The primary election that will be held in Windham, NH tomorrow (9/13/22) has the rare and dubious distinction of having a state appointed election monitor to ensure all election laws and procedures are properly followed BY Windham's election officials.
This extraordinary intervention by the Secretary of State (SOS) & Attorney General (AG) is mandated by law after more than 130 election laws and procedures were discovered regarding Windham's mismanagement of the November 3, 2020 General Election.
One of those violations was the improper folding of absentee ballots through candidate ovals. Hundreds of them - that caused Windham's voting machines to malfunction and miscount over a thousand votes.
This was dubbed "The Windham Incident" after it made national - and even worldwide news, because it produced the largest unexplained numerical discrepancy in the history of NH between election day and a recount. It led to an audit of the machines and ballots, as well as a year-long investigation by the AG and SOS.
The audit concluded that during the 2020 General Election, Windham election officials ignored the indented fold lines on each absentee ballot that identify the correct fold location that avoids a fold being made through an oval.
After the AG/SOS's year-long investigation, every Windham election official was put on notice. On January 7, 2022, a joint letter from the Secretary of State and NH Attorney General was sent to Windham's town attorney, the Board of Selectmen, Town Moderator Peter Griffin, Assistant Moderator Betty Dunn and Town Clerk Nicole Merrill to provide their findings.
That letter concluded “Windham's election night results were not just imprecise, they were fundamentally flawed … Simply put, town election officials cut corners.”
After the "Windham Incident" debacle, it is reasonable to expect that Windham's election officials would take extra care and caution to ensure all election laws and procedures are followed. Especially that no fold would be made through an oval on any absentee ballot that could cause the voting machines to malfunction and miscount votes again.
Sadly, the absentee ballot below was sent to a Windham voter for the 2022 primary election. It was folded through two ovals. History is repeating – and the results of Windham's primary election are already in doubt before the first vote is even counted.
In the image below, the fold goes through the oval for Gubernatorial candidate Julian M. Acciard and through the write-in candidate for County Commissioner.
The back of the ballot (below) clearly shows the pre-indented fold line where the ballot is supposed to be folded - and the fold that was made by a Windham election official that goes through two candidate ovals (on the other side). It is not close.