Coming on the heels of the initial success of the Marigold Coffee Club’s grassroots, town by town effort in New Hampshire to replace voting machine ballot counts, State Representative Mark Alliegro from that state’s 7th District will introduce legislation on Thursday to attempt to ban machine-based vote counting statewide.
The bill, known as HB 1064 will be introduced in a public hearing to the House Election Law Committee at 2:00 pm in Room 306/308 of the Legislative Office Building. The bill mandates that New Hampshire use hand-counting in all jurisdictions to avoid errors.
This is a groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind piece of legislation that could serve as a rallying cry for other election reform efforts across the country.
“I had a lot of requests from citizens to do something and many people expressing real concern over their votes being counted,” Alliegro stated. “I promised them that I would introduce legislation at the beginning of this session and that it would be simple and clear.” Per Alliegro, HB 1064 is one sentence long.
According to Alliegro, currently, approximately 1/3 of the municipalities in New Hampshire are hand-counted towns (HCT), and approximately 2/3 are machine-counted towns (MCT). Alliegro has done his homework in terms of analyzing the discrepancies and between the two differing types, focusing on the districts where recounts have been done since 2016. Recounts, he notes, are always done by hand.
“In 2016, there were 14 State Rep. races and 1 State Senate race that faced recount. In 2018, there were 19 and 1, respectively, and in 2020 there were 9 and 2. It is important to know that upon recounting, there is usually an increase in the final tally of 0.2% – 0.3%. That is because there is a greater effort to deduce the intent of the voter.”
Alliegro continues. “In 2016, the average error was 0.3% in HCT vs. 0.7% in MCT. In 2018 the average error was 0.2% in HCT vs. 0.4% in MCT, and in 2020 the error was 0.7% in HCT vs. 0.8% in MCT.
He asks the rhetorical question: “How would you react if told that the votes in your jurisdiction were undercounted by 0.5% in a given election?” Alliegro’s research shows that from 2016 – 2020 there were 100 individual races, just in these recounted towns, that had errors of 0.5% or more. This happened 13 times in the jurisdictions of HCT, and 87 times within MCT.
Statistically, Alliegro points out that these failures were over-represented in MCT by an aggregate of 38%.
Alliegro points out that while the statistical difference might seem insignificant to those not inclined to view statistics, he notes that data sent from the Secretary of State’s office revels that from 1976 – 2020, there have been 322 races decided by 20 or fewer votes in New Hampshire. He also reminded that the 2020 Windham “debacle,” previously reported on by Human Events that was “passed off as a perfect storm of innocent errors,” was nonetheless a machine-counting error.
Human Events reported earlier on the success of the Marigold effort to force a referendum in 30 different New Hampshire municipalities. This town-by-town effort will continue to move forward on a parallel path to Alliegro’s statewide legislation.
Human Events will continue to cover these groundbreaking efforts in New Hampshire as they may be indicators of other initiatives to follow in states around the country.