WINDHAM —The town has chosen its official representative to help get answers about what happened with vote tally discrepancies after the general election last November.
At a meeting Monday night, Selectmen voted 3-1 to choose Mark Lindeman and his team as the town designee for an upcoming forensic audit to determine what happened to cause major differences between the town vote count and a state recount in the Rockingham County District 7 race.
Selectmen Ross McLeod, Heath Partington, and Roger Hohenberger all voted to support Lindeman as the top choice with Bruce Breton putting his faith instead behind another interested candidate, Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, as the town audit designee.
Selectman Jennifer Simmons did not attend Monday night's meeting.
Candidates hoping to get the audit job presented information to Selectmen last week. Public input was also considered.
Lindeman, an acting director of Verified Voting, came out on the top of the list for McLeod, Partington and Hohenberger, with all citing his level of expertise in this type of election audit work.
In his presentation to Selectmen, Lindeman said Windham faced "a riddle" and added all the evidence will be scrutinized to "follow the facts and find out where they lead."
The audit comes after months of uncertainty due to a state recount of District 7 state representative votes from the Nov. 3 election that showed big discrepancies between the state and town vote tally.
Town vote counts gave the four Republican candidates running for District 7 state representative the top tallies and the win, but only 24 votes separated GOP candidate Julius Soti from Democrat Kristi St. Laurent, who then requested the recount, held Nov. 12.
The state's number changed considerably from the Windham totals, giving GOP candidates nearly 300 more votes each, but St. Laurent lost 99.
On April 12, Gov. Chris Sununu signed SB 43 into law, authorizing a forensic audit of the District 7 race in Windham to find out what exactly happened.
Windham currently has four AccuVote machines that will be examined as part of the audit. All ballots will be run through all the machines used by the town during the Nov. 3 election. There will also be a hand count of the ballots.
In addition to Windham's choice, the offices of the Secretary of State and attorney general will jointly pick a designee and both Windham and the state will decide on a third member of the audit team.
McLeod said he received 249 emails since the last meeting, with people giving input on who the audit designees should be. McLeod said some messages came from out of town or another state, but he only considered those from Windham as the audit is "a Windham issue."
He also said the audit process is not a popularity contest and he voted for who he felt could do the job in the fairest and most unbiased way.
McLeod added the audit is charged with specific things as per SB 43, and any problems with election integrity aren't part of that list.
"We have to keep sight of what is the overall thing," he said. "Nowhere in there do I see anything about ballot integrity."