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'Insufficient certainty': Reopened recount could un-flip NH House seat

Counting will resume on Monday, a week after a recount showed the Democratic challenger winning.
'Insufficient certainty': Reopened recount could un-flip NH House seat
Photo by 愚木混株 cdd20 / Unsplash

The vote-counting process has been a wild ride for NH House candidates in Hillsborough County District 16 (Manchester Ward 6).

And the ride isn't over yet.

Election day totals showed Maxine Mosley, a Democrat, losing by 23 votes to Republican incumbent NH Rep. Larry Gagne. Then a recount on Monday showed Mosley defeating Gagne by 1 vote.

That flip, however, might be un-flipped in the coming days.

NH Secretary of State David Scanlan announced Thursday that the Hillsborough 16 recount would continue on Monday because some ballots may not have been included in the recount tally.

"Reconciliation revealed there is insufficient certainty that all ballots cast in that race have been recounted, necessitating further counting," he said.

HILLSBOROUGH 16 Election (Nov. 8) Recount (Nov. 14) Recount (Nov. 21)
🔴 Infantine 1,895 ✔️ 1,877 ✔️ TBD
🔴 Gagne 1,820 ✔️ 1,798 🔀❌ TBD
🔵 Mosley 1,797 ❌ 1,799 🔀✔️ TBD
🔵 Hillhouse 1,644 ❌ 1,643 ❌ TBD

Scanlan said this is the first time the routine recount reconciliation process takes into account overvotes and undervotes on both the local level and for recounts. The process flagged a mismatch between reconciliation numbers and recount reconciliation numbers, partly due to the absence of undervote and overvote numbers on the election night return of votes for this race, he said. A revised return came in Wednesday with the undervote and overvote info.

In addition to the recounts that are being conducted at the request of candidates, Scanlan's office also has conducted recounts in accordance with NH law, which includes new provisions this year governing recount procedures.

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As part of those statutory recounts overseen by Scanlan's office, a team retallied the votes that were cast in Hillsborough 16 for the gubernatorial contest. The total number of ballots counted in the governor's race exceeded the number tallied in the state rep seat recount, which suggests the state rep recount may have missed some ballots.

"This 'audit' recount disclosed that the total number of ballots cast and counted for the office of Governor in this district is greater than the total accounted for so far in for the Hillsborough County State Representative District 16 race," he said.

Since he can't declare a winner at this time, Scanlan said the recount will continue on Monday, Nov. 21, at 4 p.m.

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Excluding this state rep race and one other that a recount determined ended in a tie, the Republicans appear to have won at least 200 seats in the NH House, while Democrats appear to have won at least 198 seats, as of Thursday afternoon.

That could change in the days and weeks ahead. Recounts in state rep races are scheduled to continue through Monday, and some especially close races are expected to go before the Ballot Law Commission after that.

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