Day 5 recount: Democrats are suing to stop the new House seat vote-tally being flipped in their favor


CONCORD, NH – Two Manchester Democrats are going to court to prevent Secretary of State David Scanlan from further examining ballots after the recount of a Manchester House of Representatives race in which a seat was turned over by one vote from red to blue.

They argue that only one recount is allowed, and Scanlan has already declared Democrat Maxine Mosely the winner by one vote over Republican Larry Gagne at Hillsborough District 16 Ward 6.

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The filing names Mosely and names Sen. Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, as plaintiff. In their filing in Merrimack County Superior Court, Democrats are calling for an expedited hearing on the matter before 4 p.m. Monday, the time Scanlan set for a continued recount of Manchester’s votes in that race.

Scanlan said there appears to be a discrepancy in the numbers that need to be reconciled.

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“The reconciliation concluded that there is insufficient certainty that all ballots cast in this race have been recounted, necessitating a further count,” Scanlan wrote in a statement Thursday.

In his filing, attorney William Christie of Shaheen & Gordon, PA writes that the recount recount would cause irreparable damage if the court did not intervene. On election night Gagne had tallied 1,820 votes and Mosely had 1,797, but a recount showed Gagne had 1,798 and Mosely 1,799 votes.

The lawsuit states that the law only allows for a recount in certain cases and this case does not apply. The lawsuit seeks an injunction and an injunction.

At another recount Thursday, Scanlan said the race at Rockingham County District 6 House in Brentwood would be under review by the Ballot Law Commission because some absentee ballots appeared to have gone uncounted.

Meanwhile, the recount of 24 Houses of Representatives continues, with seven races yet to be counted and leaving the near-equal split between Democrats and Republicans over who will control the 400-seat House of Representatives for the next two years, with an advantage increasing at the moment the Republicans with one vote, and one race a toss-up with a tie.

There were no recounts on either Thursday or Friday that changed the outcome of election night winners, although some voting numbers changed slightly. The recounts, which began Monday, will continue Saturday and into the next week at the State Archives in Concord.

On Monday, a seat in Coos County House switched from red to blue and one of the recounts found a tie during the recount. For now, the split appears to be 199-201, favoring Republicans even if Democrats are successful in their lawsuit.

Democrats, who have been in the minority for the past two years, had taken seats despite claiming Republicans were trying to push them out. Two years ago, the Democrats were elected to 177 seats.

The party in control at the beginning of each decade decides the political boundaries according to the most recent US census.

Anna Fay, spokeswoman for the Office of the Secretary of State, said it was an unusual number of recount requests for a year of general elections, with 24 House seats, a state Senate and a land registry office being inspected to ensure the count on election night was identified real winners.

Three Nashua seats were contested Thursday. They were for Districts 5, 1 and 9, where Democrats won all but one of the nine seats on election night. There was no change in the outcome of any of these three races during recounts.

On Friday, the counters and observers focused on three races, including two in Sullivan County and one in Merrimack County.

The first, for Sullivan District 8, which includes nine cities, had no significant changes in the winners, but some of the vote counts did change. This district includes electors in Acworth, Claremont, Croydon, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster, Springfield, Sunapee and Washington. Prior to the reallocation, the seat was held by Republican Walter Salisbury, who did not run for re-election. Thanks to the reallocation, there were two seats up for grabs. The winners were Republican Jonathan Stone and Democrat Hope Damon. On election night, Damon was the frontrunner among four candidates with 4,454 votes. Damon won 12 votes during the recount with 4,466 votes. Stone received 4,436 votes in the election, but the recount gave him 4,457. It was close, but Don Bettencourt had 4,433 on the pick and on the recount, so it was unchanged, as were the results for Robert Lovett Jr.’s tally of 4,179. The recount gave Stone with 4,457 votes, Bettencourt with 4,443, Lovett with 4,179, and Damon with the same 4,466.

The draw for Rochester’s Ward 4, which ended in a tie at the recount, will be decided by either the Ballot Law Commission or a vote by the new House of Representatives when it convenes.

On Friday afternoon, the counts completed the results for a House seat in Merrimack District 5, representing voters in Andover, Danbury, Hill, Salisbury and Webster. 37 votes separated the winner. There was no change, but the voices were slightly different. Louise Andrus, the Republican incumbent, won one of two seats in last Tuesday’s election with 1,989 votes, rising to 2,021 in the recount. She was followed by Deborah Aylward, a Republican, who received a total of 1,778 on Election Day, which became 1,749 in the recount. After the election, it got just 37 votes more than Democrat Ken Wells’ 1,741, and his recount total didn’t change. Lorna Carlisle, a Democrat, received 1,659 votes during the election but received 1,663 at the recount.

And the recount was announced after 5 p.m. for another race that was close in Sullivan County District 5, which includes voters in Springfield and Sunapee. There, the winner was a Democrat, beating the Republican by 30 votes. This was a district previously held by a Republican. Democrat Linda Tanner won on election night by 1,392 votes ahead of George Grant, a Republican, with 1,362 votes.

Recounts will be held on Saturday for Hillsborough County Districts 12 and 2, which are Merrimack and Bedford, respectively.

Five more home races representing Belknap District 6, Hillsborough 45, Coos 5, Merrimack 11 and Hillsborough District 35 will be tallied next week. There will also be a state Senate recount for Coastal District 24, which is scheduled for Tuesday at 9 a.m

An original recount request for District 12 of the Nashua-area State Senate was withdrawn.

The final recount, which is expected to take two days due to the high number of ballots cast, will put the counters up and running by Thanksgiving. This recount is for the Hillsborough County Land Registry.

Incumbent Mary Ann Crowell, a Democrat, won on election night by 62 votes with 81,450 votes ahead of Republican challenger Dennis Hogan with 81,388 votes.

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This story was originally published by InDepth NH.