When New Hampshire began auditing a state legislative race in the town of Windham this month, former President Donald Trump suggested proof of widespread voter fraud could be lurking in the small suburban community — but Windham’s auditors on Thursday concluded there’s no evidence of vote-rigging in the town, in another disappointment for Trump supporters who have failed to substantiate any of the wild claims of nationwide fraud in the November election.
Officials launched an audit in Windham — a town of 15,000 people near the Massachusetts border — earlier this month, after a recount of a tight state race last November ended with almost 400 votes changing between candidates.
This month, Trump claimed an audit of Windham’s vote-counting errors could uncover evidence of “massive Election Fraud,” ultimately vindicating his baseless claims that he won last year’s presidential election instead of President Joe Biden.
But after weeks of scrutinizing Windham’s ballots and voting equipment, a team of town- and state-sanctioned auditors began wrapping up its work Thursday and said there’s no evidence of fraud in the town’s election results last year.
“Nothing today is showing evidence of fraud. Nothing today is showing evidence of digital manipulation of the machines. Right now, it seems to be a case of a perfect storm,” Harri Hursti, a computer security expert hired by the state to help lead the audit, said Thursday.
What To Watch For
Hursti and two other auditors still need to analyze their findings and write up a report, which state law requires them to submit to town and state officials within 45 days.
Windham’s election results first drew scrutiny after Kristi St. Laurent (D) lost a race for New Hampshire state representative by just 24 votes. When St. Laurent asked for a recount, she lost dozens of votes and her Republican opponents picked up hundreds of votes. After months of confusion, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed a bill last month authorizing a forensic audit to figure out why Windham’s initial count was off. Sununu says New Hampshire’s election was fair and secure, regardless of whatever might have happened in Windham. Still, some conservatives in Windham and around the country saw the audit as an opportunity to expose the kind of widespread vote-rigging Trump falsely insists was rampant in swing states like New Hampshire, which Biden won by almost 60,000 votes. At one point, town residents unsuccessfully pushed for the audit to be partly led by Jovan Pulitzer, an inventor and former treasure hunter who has cast himself as an election security expert in right-wing circles.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, a Windham resident, told local TV station WMUR the former president doesn’t necessarily think the town was beset by widespread voter fraud, but he’s still interested in finding out why there were discrepancies.
With Trump’s backing, the Windham audit has been linked to other attempts to contest last year’s election results, despite no evidence of widespread fraud. The most notable effort is a bizarre ongoing audit of the vote in Maricopa County, Arizona, ordered by the Republican-controlled state Senate. A team is sifting through millions of ballots and hunting for evidence ballots were flown in from Asia, secretly stamped with invisible watermarks, or subjected to a litany of other unproven vote-rigging attempts promoted by Trump and his allies.