2 min read

Election monitors appointed for 3 NH towns with ballot-counting problems

The appointees will work with election officials during the primary election to ensure compliance with NH law.
Election monitors appointed for 3 NH towns with ballot-counting problems
Photo by Parker Johnson / Unsplash

Election monitors have been appointed to oversee upcoming primaries in Bedford, Windham, and Laconia Ward 6 after the Attorney General’s Office found “significant deficiencies” in those elections in 2020.

The election monitors will work with election officials during the Sept. 13 primary election and also review their handling of the upcoming election to ensure it complies with New Hampshire law. They will help educate election officials and oversee their work, submitting a report to the state within 30 days of the election about any issues they observe.

“There were three towns that had significant issues last election,” Secretary of State David Scanlan said in an interview. Scanlan said in both Windham and Bedford the problems stemmed from the high volume of absentee ballots the towns received.

“Bedford misplaced a tray of absentee ballots, but given the volume, I mean, it’s understandable,” he said. “And Windham, because of the high volume, they tried to speed up the process using a letter-folding machine and that’s what caused the problems.”

NH voters confident in their elections. Other states? Not as much.
A majority of New Hampshire voters are increasingly confident about the integrity of the state’s electoral system but have concerns about voter fraud nationally, according to a new poll.
Related content

The problems in Laconia were not related to absentee voting. Rather, election officials put ballots in the side compartment of the ballot collection box but never took them out, so 179 ballots were never counted. The moderator also double counted ballots with write-in votes. Those ballots are diverted from the ballot counting device, and the moderator is supposed to count only the write-in votes.

“The moderator instead counted every single vote on the ballot. That resulted in significant double counting,” said Myles Matteson, deputy general counsel at the Attorney General’s Office’s election law unit.

Who’s running in 2022 NH state primaries?
Here’s how to figure out who is running in your district and where you can find more information on their platforms.
Related content

The secretary of state recruits and appoints election monitors who are familiar with election law.

  • Eugene Van Loan, a retired lawyer, was appointed to oversee the Windham election;
  • Eric Forcier, a lawyer at the N.H. Secretary of State’s Office, will work as an election monitor in Bedford; and
  • Bonnie Winona MacKinnon, who has served as town moderator in Nottingham, will work in the Laconia Ward 6 election.

The election monitors are appointed only to observe and report on the upcoming primary, not the general election.