WINDHAM — There was an admirable turnout Monday night for those hoping to call or sign in to watch the Board of Selectmen meeting via Zoom.

So much so, that about an hour into the meeting, one part of the agenda got postponed due to the big number of people wanting to sign in virtually and participate, but couldn't due to the number allowed already at capacity.

About 100 people called or signed in to watch the meeting via Zoom and to hear more about the ongoing voting issue in town. 

Representatives from town vendor LHS Associates, the company that maintains the ballot machines and programs the memory cards, were scheduled to offer a presentation at the meeting.

Many also appeared in person for the meeting, but between officials running the meeting virtually and the Zoom glitches, the decision was made to postpone the election recount discussion to Monday, March 1, at Windham High School, 7 p.m. 

Upgrades will be made to the town's capacity to allow more people to join and participate via Zoom.

"A lot of people want to participate," said board Chairman Ross McLeod Monday night. "I don't want to talk about any items of substance; it's not fair to those who want to get in."

The discussion was to include information about the voting discrepancies found during a state recount last November of the District 7 state representative race, where town and state tallies showed significant differences.

Four Republican candidates on the ballot took the town's top vote numbers and the win, initially with only 24 votes separating Democratic top vote-getter Kristi St. Laurent from Republican Julius Soti.

The state did a recount Nov. 12, and the numbers changed considerably. GOP candidates won nearly 300 more votes each, while St. Laurent lost 99.

Last week, The New Hampshire state Senate amended its SB 43 bill, paving the way for the state to do further investigation into what happened between town, voting machines and recount.

In a statement, St. Laurent said there are three possible sources for the vote discrepancy — town voting day operations, the vote counting machines or the recount.

"The Attorney General's office requested voluminous documentation from Windham town officials," she said. "After a thorough review there were some minor suggestions for future elections, but nothing to indicate they found cause for the degree of discrepancy between the election results reported by the town and from the recount."

That leaves either the results reported by the ballot counting machines or the recount results as the cause of the discrepancy, St. Laurent said.

St. Laurent added that Senate Bill 43 calls for "four separate sets of ballots for the Rockingham County District 7 state representative race" to be counted by a machine used on Nov. 3 in Windham and also hand counted.  

The Attorney General inquiry may clear the town and the machines of any errors, but St. Laurent said there isn't a process to corroborate the state's recount results.

"A lack of clarity will only fuel further rumors about the results," she said. 

McLeod apologized to everyone who may have wanted to sign in virtually Monday night, but were unable to do so.

"I apologize for you wasting your time for this," McLeod said. "It's an embarrassment." 

 

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